WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Evidence of anthrax spores has been found in a mail bin at a House of Representatives office building, Capitol Police spokesman Lt. Dan Nichols said Saturday.
Nichols said the anthrax spores were found in the Ford Office Building, the smallest and most remote of the House office buildings. The mail machine involved serves only the Longworth Office Building offices, which do not include those of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
"This was not an unexpected situation," Nichols said, given the testing that began last week after anthrax was found in a letter delivered to the Hart Office Building offices of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D. Anthrax also was found in the Hart mailroom.
Capitol Hill physician, Dr. John Eisold said more than 4,000 people on the Hill had been tested for anthrax exposure so far in the investigation and additional Ford building employees would be tested Monday.
The House and the Senate were in recess Friday and the House was not due to reconvene until Tuesday. The Senate was expected to resume work Monday but congressional offices remained closed over the weekend to allow for health officials to check for anthrax spores.
Nichols said the testing began in the Hart building, then moved to the Dirkson Office Building and then to Ford, where the anthrax was discovered on Wednesday. He said he would not get into details of which buildings still would be tested.
Also in Washington, District of Columbia health officials said a postal worker from the Brentwood central post office location near the Capitol was hospitalized Saturday,undergoing tests for possible anthrax exposure.
Dr. Ivan Walks, director of the city's Department of Health, told reporters the man's symptoms made health officials "suspicious enough to do these tests."
A second main focus of the anthrax investigation Saturday was in New Jersey, with two letter carriers testing positive for the skin form of anthrax and a third testing positive for exposure. Law enforcement and health officials were tracing the mail route used by one carrier to try to find clues to the bioterrorist involved.
There also is a link from New Jersey to the investigation of anthrax-laced letters sent to the media in New York, as officials said letters to Daschle and the NBC Nightly News both were postmarked from the Trenton, N.J. post office.
FBI Special Agent Linda Vizi said the anthrax infection of a Trenton area mail carrier gives her agency a point for specific continued investigation.
"We are now able to concentrate on this individual's routes and her daily activities with the post office to try and find out the source of the anthrax," said Vizi.
In New York, where a New York Post employee became the latest in the media to test positive for cutaneous anthrax infection, The New York Times reported on its Web site Saturday that anthrax had been confirmed found in its Rio de Janeiro office. Other reports have said the tests were negative.
A Brazilian laboratory said Saturday that a letter did not contain anthrax spores as feared. The letter was sent from New York City.
No anthrax was detected in testing of the state Capitol, in Albany. N.Y., state officials said. One hundred tests from the governor's officer and other places in the five-story building came back negative. The results from an additional 40 tests were expected Saturday.
The sampling was taken after an area in the Gov. George Pataki's New York City office was found to have tested positive for anthrax. The New York City office on the 38th and 39th floors of 633 Third Ave. was expected to reopen Monday.
At least 30 people have tested positive for anthrax exposure overall.
In all, eight people have been diagnosed with anthrax infection -- in New York, Florida and New Jersey. However, only two, in Florida, have come down with the more deadly inhaled form, while the rest have the type that is contracted through cuts or abrasions on the skin. Robert Stevens, 63, the photo editor for American Media's Sun tabloid, died of inhaled anthrax infection Oct. 5 and remains the only fatality. His co-worker, Ernesto Blanco, 73, was hospitalized with a respiratory illness that later was determined to be anthrax infection. He is expected to recover.