Anthrax and Biological Agent Threats, What To Do (cont.)

5. SHUT down air handling system in the building, if possible.

6. If possible, list all people who were in the room or area. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up, and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.


Some characteristics of suspicious packages and letters include the following...

  • Excessive postage
  • Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
  • Incorrect titles
  • Title, but no name
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Oily stains, discolorations or odor
  • No return address
  • Excessive weight
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
  • Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc.
  • Visual distractions
  • Ticking sound
  • Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as "Personal" or "Confidential"
  • Shows a city or state in the postmark that does not match the return address

For more information, please read the following articles:

Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

(Source: provided with the kind permission of the Centers for Disease Control.)
Last Editorial Review: 7/19/2002