No test results yet from Woodrow Wilson School incident, <font size="-1">11/12/01, 8:30 p.m.</font>
Posted November 6, 2001; 03:02 p.m.
A hazmat team last Tuesday removed a suspicious letter from Robertson Hall in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and law enforcement authorities sent it for testing at a state laboratory. An enclosed office on the first floor was decontaminated and will be kept secure until the test results are received.
University officials are communicating with state officials and plan to report test results as soon as they are available.
On Nov. 6, Robertson Hall was closed from about 11 a.m. until shortly after 2 p.m., with no one permitted to enter or leave the building.
Because the letter is considered suspicious by law enforcement authorities, testing is expected to proceed as quickly as possible.
At a briefing for people who were in the building, public safety officials said the letter had no return address on the envelope. The envelope contained an oily substance, described as having the consistency of paint, that was wrapped in plastic.
No powder was seen, and the officials said there was nothing to suggest that the substance could have been released into the air. The ventilation system was turned off as another standard precaution.
The letter was immediately reported to public safety officials, who notified local law-enforcement authorities. The Princeton Borough police notified the Trenton hazmat team. The unsigned letter, which was mailed from Canada, was placed in a plastic bag and then double-bagged and removed.
The two staff members who handled the letter were offered antibiotics as a precaution, and the risk to them is considered minimal.
Since there was no evidence of aerosolization of the substance, there is no reason at this time to treat others in the building who were not in the immediate area and did not handle the letter, said Dr. Janet Neglia, director of clinical services at University Health Services. However, as always, people should be aware of the symptoms of anthrax and report a change in health status or skin condition for investigation, she said.
Those in the building will be notified directly when test results are received. New information also will be promptly posted on the University's home page .
All members of the Princeton community are advised to review guidelines for handling suspicious mail. Anyone who receives a piece of suspicious mail, should not open it and should call the University's Department of Public Safety at 911 or 258-3134.
Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601