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WAR ON TERROR: PANIC OVER GERMS: ANTHRAX USA - STOCKS & SCARES; ANTHRAX USA: Seven-month-old catches disease ..2,300 alerts in last 16 days.

Byline: ANDY LINES, US Editor in Washington

A SEVEN-MONTH-OLD baby in the US was recovering last night after being struck down by anthrax.

The news came as FBI Director Robert Mueller said they had responded to 2300 incidents involving anthrax in 16 days.

The baby boy, who has not been named, is the son of a producer at ABC Television in New York and had been taken into the newsroom for a birthday party. A day later he developed a scar on his leg which tests revealed was caused by anthrax.

ABC News President David Westin said he expected the baby to make a full recovery. "The prognosis is excellent," he said.

As soon as the news broke New York police sent teams of investigators to The Post, the Daily News, CBS, CNN, Fox News and The Associated Press to search their premises.

The city's Mayor Rudy Giuliani urged the public not to over react.

"This is a non-contagious, treatable disease," he said. "There are situations people face every day in their lives that are significantly more dangerous than this."

And police in Washington ordered parts of the Senate to be shut down. They feared "very pure" spores, contained in a letter to Democrat Tom Daschle, had entered the ventilation.

Police also confirmed that the letter to Daschle was written by the same person who last week sent anthrax to NBC TV anchor Tom Brokaw.

And parts of eight floors of the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill were closed following the letter.

Members of Daschle's staff were given antibiotics. None contracted the disease.

Daschle said: "In order to ensure that there was no spreading of spores we are taking every precaution necessary."

Daschle said he wasn't certain of a direct connection between a rash of anthrax scares and Osama bin Laden.

"I wouldn't be surprised if others are getting into the act as well," he said. Daschle said the letter containing the anthrax was heavily bound in tape and contained threats against the US and Israel and praised Allah.

National security adviser Condoleezza Rice confirmed precautions were also being taken at the White House.

"Like everybody else, we are being very cautious about what mail we open," Rice said.

In Trenton, New Jersey, where both letters to Daschle and NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw were sent, detectives were interviewing post office staff. They were all tested for anthrax exposure.

Police are also probing an incident in which envelopes, containing white powder, were sent to 110 abortion clinics.

Tests on two letters revealed the substance was not anthrax.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 17, 2001
Words:434
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