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4 Abortion Clinics Get Letters Said to Contain Anthrax; No Illnesses

October 31, 1998| From Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Four abortion clinics in three states received letters Friday claiming to contain deadly anthrax, forcing the evacuation of an Indianapolis clinic and sending at least 33 people to hospitals, authorities said.

Clinics in New Albany, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; and Knoxville, Tenn., also received letters, Planned Parenthood and federal officials said. Employees and patients at an Indianapolis Planned Parenthood clinic were stripped and scrubbed down by emergency crews after one of them opened a small powder-filled letter claiming to contain anthrax.

A letter carrier and two police officers were among 31 people treated in Indianapolis. Officials said it was unclear whether the letter actually contained anthrax, a strain of bacteria that can be used as a biological weapon.

None of those treated in Indianapolis complained of any symptoms, but authorities took them to a hospital after they were decontaminated in a tent put up near the clinic. They were given antibiotics as a preventive measure.

An employee of Women's Health Services, a private clinic in Louisville, and the mail carrier who delivered the letter there were taken to the University of Louisville Hospital as a precaution. They were treated with antibiotics and released.

The clinic in New Albany was not evacuated because the letters were not opened, authorities said.

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