Delegation, staffers continue work despite anthrax threats

Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Sen. Ted Stevens, like hundreds who work in or visited the Hart Senate Office Building, had a test for anthrax exposure and is on the antibiotic Cipro, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

''He just wanted to get it out of the way,'' said spokeswoman Melanie Alvord. Stevens was awaiting test results, but has no reason to think he's been infected, she said.

Both Stevens and Sen. Frank Murkowski were at work in the Capitol on Thursday even though the Hart and other congressional office buildings were closed.

Their usual offices are in the northwest wing of Hart. Sen. Tom Daschle's office, where a letter containing anthrax was opened Monday, is in the southeast wing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked people who were in the southeast wing to come in for nasal swabs and Cipro.

A few aides to Stevens and Murkowski were also tested. They included a pregnant woman and a staffer who frequently walked to the southeast wing, said spokesman Chuck Kleeschulte. Murkowski did not get tested and is not taking antibiotics, he said.

Like a lot of senators, Murkowski worked Thursday out of his Capitol ''hideaway,'' a room off an obscure corridor.

It was a minor inconvenience to be away from the usual computers and fax machines, Kleeschulte said. ''But we were functional today on a reduced basis, and we'll be open again on Monday,'' he said.

Murkowski was in Alaska during the weekend.

The House closed down Wednesday evening for the rest of the week. Alaska Rep. Don Young spent the day at home, said his spokeswoman, Amy Inaba. He has not been tested or treated for anthrax, she said.

Stevens worked Thursday from his two-room office suite in the Capitol. Alvord said she didn't know how many employees in Stevens' office sought tests. None believed they'd been infected, she said.

''I think it was just more precautionary,'' she said.

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