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Panic grows as anthrax scare hits Microsoft; AMERICA IN FEAR.

AMERICA was in the grip of mounting germ-war panic last night as further cases of anthrax were confirmed.

Five more cases were confirmed in Florida, all linked to the original outbreak, but more worrying still was that at least one of the infected packages was sent to computer giants Microsoft from Malaysia, a country with a strong Muslim community.

Osama bin Laden's terror network al-Qaeda is known to have cells based in the Far East, mainly in Indonesia, but with links throughout the region.

Earlier, New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani confirmed the package sent to TV network NBC's offices was another case of anthrax.

There is still no confirmation of the motives behind the bio-terror campaign.

Investigators have not yet ruled out either a cult with a grudge against big business and the media or simply the work of a psycho.

It was confirmed last night that a second threatening letter sent to NBC TV news presenter Tom Brokaw in New York contained the anthrax that infected his assistant Erin O'Connor. The letter sent to Brokaw was postmarked September 18 in Trenton, New Jersey.

O'Connor contracted the skin form of anthrax after opening it. She is expected to make a complete recovery.

The state of alarm deepened across America as Vice-President Dick Cheney said there could be a link between the anthrax cases and bin Laden's terror network.

He said: "The only responsible thing for us to do is proceed on the basis it could be linked.We know bin Laden has tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

"He has trained people in his camps in Afghanistan. We have copies of the manuals they've used to train people."

There have been four cases of anthrax in America in the last week, including the death of British journalist Robert Stevens in Florida.

Americans are responding to the alert by stockpiling water, food and anti-anthrax drugs. Cipro, the main drug prescribed by doctors to treat the disease, is hard to find.

Three Britons who worked in buildings at the heart of the anthrax scare have returned to the UK and are undergoing tests.
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 14, 2001
Words:352
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