Anthrax Strikes a Third Victim; THE WAR BEGINS: Another Case Is Confirmed in Florida as Blunkett Admits the Threat from Biological Weapons Is Real
Eastham, Paul, Daily Mail (London)
Byline: PAUL EASTHAM
A THIRD person has tested positive for anthrax in Florida, health officials revealed last night.
The woman victim worked at the same media offices in Boca Raton as British-born journalist Bob Stevens, 63, who died on Friday from the virus.
A second man, Ernesto Blanco, 73, had also been found to have traces of the bacteria in his nose.
The latest case was confirmed by Guy Lewis, acting U.S. attorney, who said the FBI probe is now a criminal investigation.
'There is another individual that has tested positive for presence of the virus,' he said at a news conference that included officials from the U.S.
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The woman - who has not been named - is in hospital and undergoing treatment with antibiotics.
A librarian at the company, Martha Moffett, was originally tested negative for anthrax, but was called back on Monday for a second test for the disease.
Investigators are still unclear as to how the deadly germ entered the American Media magazine building, but it was reported yesterday that the strain responsible was genetically engineered in a laboratory in Iowa 50 years ago.
The development came as David Blunkett admitted yesterday that Britain is at risk from terrorist germ warfare. But he insisted that the Government was well prepared to beat the threat.
The Home Secretary appealed for the public to remain calm and stressed that preparations were under way in case biological weapons were deployed.
He said that emergency measures, based on the procedures drawn up to tackle the millennium bug computer virus, had already swung into action to protect the public.
His remarks came after junior Foreign Office Minister Ben Bradshaw on Tuesday raised the spectre of biological warfare in the UK.
He said Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda organisation had a stockpile of such weapons that they would use if they got the chance.
As he landed in Oman yesterday, Tony Blair conceded that people were extremely 'anxious and worried' about the possibility of germ warfare and promised that security had been tightened as much as possible.
But a Downing Street spokesman attempted to damp down the fears Mr Bradshaw's comments had provoked by calling on the public to take a 'calm rational' approach to the issue. …