Anthrax contamination taught key lessons

Saturday, January 5, 2002

While there were so many positive discoveries in the health field in 2001, some researchers received lessons they probably didn't want as a result of the anthrax scare.

Consider the problems getting U.S. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle and 49 other senators back into their offices in the anthrax-infected Hart Senate Office Building in Washington.

Officials tried to pump poisonous gas into the building once to kill anthrax spores, but the humidity levels were wrong, and it didn't work.

The second attempt appears to have worked, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Scientists are analyzing test strips taken from the site, and others are checking samples from vacuuming and swabbing.

Daschle said the building could reopen this month.

Certainly, it was a hard lesson learned, but one that, unfortunately, we may have to use again in the future.

Meanwhile, there was an interesting contrast between the quick return by TV networks to offices contaminated by anthrax and those occupied by the federal government.

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