Lubbock Chamber Possible Bioterrorism Target - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/13/03

Lubbock Chamber Possible Bioterrorism Target

The substance was sent to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce in an average sized envelope. It tested positive for the deadly toxin, Ricin, in Lubbock on Friday. As of Tuesday night, the suspicious mail is at the Centers for Disease control in Atlanta for more testing.

Information About How to Recognize Suspicious Package or Envelope
This information supplements CDC’s recommendations for recognizing and handling suspicious packages or envelopes that were published as a CDC Health Advisory.
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Lubbock City Health Department Director Tommy Camden says they had preliminary reports Friday night that the contaminants in that suspicious package may be Ricin. The FBI and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta are investigating several suspicious letters postmarked in Brazil.

"We still don't know if this material that was in the letter whether or not actual from a castor bean plant so that's information we still don't know," said Camden.

The C.D.C. has contacted Camden and said similar letters have also been sent to California, Washington state, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. In Texas, Lubbock and Abilene are the only two states known at this time to have received the suspicious letters at city offices. "The Texas Chambers Executive Association sent out warnings to all state chambers today (Tuesday)," said Chamber director Eddie McBride.

McBride says after their scare last Tuesday, they'll be more careful opening letters. McBride advises that all businesses do the same. In fact, the city sent out a warning letter to city employees on Tuesday afternoon advising them to contact law enforcement, the health department and the FBI should a letter postmarked in Brazil be received.

NewsChannel 11 was told the C.D.C. should have received the contaminated packages and they will perform the final test in Atlanta.

No one has become sick from the exposure of this suspicious substance.

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