Staff responsible for incoming mail should maintain an awareness of the possibility of anthrax threat letters. This checklist outlines common features of anthrax threat letters.
- No return address
- Excessive postage
- Hand written or poorly typed addresses
- Misspelling of common words
- Restrictive markings such as “Confidential”, “Personal”, etc.
- Excessive weight and/or a feel of a powdery substance
If you receive a letter or note threatening anthrax contamination:
What you should do?
- If it is a letter that you have opened, set it down gently at the location where you first read it. Then move to an area that will minimize your exposure to others. Avoid contact with others when possible, and remain in the area. Public Safety and Health responders will come to you.
- If it is a note that you happen to find, LEAVE IT ALONE.
- Advise a coworker in the immediate area what has happened and ask them to call 911.
- If possible, have the buildings ventilation system shut down and turn off any fans in the area.
- Do not allow others into the area. If anyone enters, they should stay until instructed to leave by Public Safety or Health responder.
- Remain calm. Exposure does not mean that you will become sick. Public Health responders will provide specific information and instructions about the symptoms and effective treatment to prevent illness.
What you should not do?
- Do not pass the letter or note to others to look at.
- Do not disturb any contents in the letter or note. Handling the letter may only spread the substance inside and increase the chances of it getting into the air.
- Do not ignore the threat. It must be treated as real until properly evaluated.