U Admin Warns About Anthrax, 5 Call Police

You could get anthrax in the mail.

But you also might not. Either way, Dave Pershing, senior vice president for academic affairs, and Lorris Betz, senior vice president for health sciences, want University of Utah employees prepared in the event that they encounter suspicious packages, ?given the multiple exposures to anthrax across the country,? the two administrators said in an email sent out to faculty and staff Monday.

Faculty and staff should inspect their own mail, looking for the absence of a return address, unusual markings and other suspicious clues.

?You are the ones who are most familiar with your typical mail sources!? the email said. Anyone who suspects a piece of mail might carry anthrax should not open or shake it and contact the U Police Department (585-COPS) or Hospital Security (1-2265).

?While it is relatively unlikely that such a letter or package will be mailed to the U, we want everyone to be alert and prepared,? the email said.

Later that day, five U employees called the UUPD, concerned about the danger of some unsolicited mail they?d received, according to Detective Troy Martinez. In each case, UUPD officers were dispatched to examine the mail in question, but determined they were ?non-suspicious,? Martinez said.

If the UUPD officers find mail items containing powder suspected to be an anthrax infecting agent, they call the Salt Lake City Fire Department Hazmat Unit, the same unit which responded to the accidental chemical spill in a campus biology lab last week.

For further information, call the Office of Epidemiology at the Utah Department of Health at 538-6191.

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