WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said he sees the mail as a quick way to deliver antibiotics in case of an anthrax attack.
It could answer a major challenge in responding to a bioterrorism attack, Leavitt said, namely, how to deliver protective medicine to tens of thousands of people overnight, The Washington Post reported.
As an incentive to the letter carriers, all volunteers, the government would issue them enough antibiotics to protect themselves and their families. They also would have police accompaniment on their rounds.
The strategy has the full support of the U.S. Postal Service and its unions, spokesmen told the Post.
Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle had experimental runs of the distribution strategy in 2006 and 2007 and a similar trial is planned next year in Minnesota, the newspaper said.
In a bioterror attack seven years ago finely powdered anthrax spores were sent in envelopes to several addresses on the East Coast. Two postal workers died of inhalational anthrax after being exposed at a Washington processing center where one of the letters was sorted.