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Timeline of the 2001 anthrax attacks in New York

From Academic Kids

The following is a timeline the 2001 anthrax attacks in New York and New Jersey.


New York City and New Jersey

September 18, 2001

  • A letter containing anthrax is postmarked from Trenton, New Jersey to Tom Brokaw.
  • A secretary in the New Jersey governor's office received a FedEx package containing a stamped letter addressed to Tom Brokaw. She put it in the mail. As of October 16, it is unknown if that was the letter containing anthrax.

September 25

  • Erin O'Connor, an NBC Nightly News employee, 38, an assistant to Tom Brokaw, opens a letter postmarked from Trenton containing a brown granular substance. The letter was addressed with crude handwritten block letters, with no return address. She is the mother of a toddler and wife of a NYPD police officer.

September 28

  • A female freelance producer for ABC World News Tonight takes her seven-month-old son to a birthday party in the ABC offices on W. 66th St. They visited the World News Tonight offices on the second floor and a tape-editing room on the third floor.
  • O'Connor develops a low-grade fever and a rash on her collarbone.

September 29

  • The child began presenting symptoms of fever, swelling on one arm, and an ulcer on one elbow. The mother suspects an infected spider bite.

October 1

  • The child is admitted to New York University Medical Center.
  • O'Connor begins receiving Cipro.
  • A 20-something female CBS News aide, who handles mail for Dan Rather in an office next to his, came into work with a mosquito-bite sized mark on her left cheek. She is allergic to bug bites.

October 2

  • The CBS News aide goes to a doctor after the mark begins swelling.

October 4

  • The CBS News aide's doctor prescribes penicillin, and the swelling slowly subsides.

October 10

Friday, October 12

  • A case of anthrax is reported in New York City. O'Connor is reported to have cutaneous anthrax. Another letter from St. Petersburg contained a white powder which tested negative for anthrax. The third floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, where the employee works, is sealed by authorities. The FBI is conducting a criminal investigation.

Sunday, October 14

  • A police officer and two lab technicians who handled the letter were found to have been exposed to anthrax. The officer and one of the lab technicians tested positive for anthrax in their nasal passages; the other technician had anthrax on the face. None were found to be infected.

Monday, October 15

  • In the evening: Tests done by the CDC confirm that the baby had anthrax. New York City officials and David Westin, president of ABC News announce that the 7-month-old baby of an ABC World News Tonight producer contracted cutaneous anthrax.

Tuesday, October 16

  • It is reported that the anthrax bacteria sent to NBC is of the same strain as that found in Boca Raton. Furthermore, the letters sent to Tom Brokaw at NBC and the letter sent to Tom Daschle's office in Washington reportedly show similarities in handwriting.

Wednesday, October 17

  • Anthrax is found in the New York City office of Governor George Pataki. Reportedly the anthrax was found in a room used by his State Police security detail that is not open to the public. Pataki closes his offices and begins taking Cipro in response, which many health experts and journalistic commentators call irresponsible overkill.
  • Federal health officials state that the NBC anthrax is the same strain as the American Media anthrax.

Thursday, October 18

  • In the morning: Andrew Heyward, CBS News president, announces that a female employee of CBS News who handles mail, contracted cutaneous anthrax.
  • Giuliani announced that 350 samples from the NBC offices were tested negative for anthrax, giving a total of approximately 850 negative tests so far. 59 of 70 samples from ABC were tested negative; the rest are pending. Later numbers from the same day: 1100 results, all negative from 1304 taken from NBC employees.
  • New Jersey acting governor Donald DiFrancesco announced that a Hamilton Township postal worker tested positive for cutaneous anthrax.
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