Juneau postal worker put on Cipro as precautionary measure

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2001

(JUNEAU) (AP) -- A doctor has put a Juneau postal worker on Cipro as a precaution against anthrax after the woman sought medical help last week for a rash on her nose.

But a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service in Anchorage said there is no reason to believe the employee came in contact with the deadly bacteria.

Postal officials say there are no known cases of anthrax in the state of Alaska, said Connie Lightner, human resources manager for the postal service. She declined to identify the postal worker or her physician.

The postal worker ''did not report any suspicious packages to us or any suspicious powder,'' Lightner said. ''But the doctor put her on medication as a precaution.''

The woman's doctor decided not to test for anthrax and the postal service is satisfied with the physician's decision, Lightner said. She said the office also will not take any special precautions in response to the incident.

Bob King, a spokesman for Gov. Tony Knowles, said it is the first case to his knowledge of an Alaska doctor prescribing Cipro as a precaution against anthrax. King said he did not question the doctor's decision.

''If the doctor did not suspect anthrax or have any reason to believe there was a public health threat, I can't second-guess his decision,'' King said.

Two postal workers have died and others have been sickened by anthrax since tainted letters addressed to the news media and members of Congress began appearing shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City and the Pentagon. Postal facilities in New Jersey and Washington remain closed for decontamination.

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