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  Supreme Court Mail Has Anthrax Scare

By Anne Gearan
Associated Press Writer
Friday, Oct. 26, 2001; 1:47 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON –– Anthrax was discovered Friday on a filter removed from a warehouse that screens mail headed for the Supreme Court, a spokeswoman said.

The court building was closed to tourists at midday Friday, and the court's ventilation system was shut off, in case any material found its way to the building. Other precautions also were taken, but court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg did not detail them.

"We have no evidence of any contamination in the Supreme Court building," itself, a statement from the court said.

The filter was removed from the offsite warehouse Monday, and the test came back positive for anthrax Friday. Arberg would not say where the offsite screening facility is located.

No court employees show signs of anthrax exposure, the statement said. Nonetheless, some may be treated as a precaution. The court building will be "tested thoroughly and if any contamination is detected, the building will be decontaminated," the statement said.

Inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control tested the main court building Sunday for evidence of anthrax and none was found, Arberg said.

The court was in temporary recess this week, but returns for arguments and other business Monday. If the building is still shut down then, the court will borrow a local District of Columbia court building.

© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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