These guidelines address small mailroom operations (sorting, distributing, and handling). They can be distributed to all employees who may handle mail. For guidelines for large volume operations, see Additional Information - Training.
Anthrax organisms can infect the skin, the gastrointestinal system, or the lungs. To cause infection, the anthrax spores must come into contact with broken or abraded skin, swallowed, or inhaled as a fine dust. However, anthrax infection can be prevented even after exposure to anthrax spores by early treatment with the appropriate antibiotics. Anthrax spores can be dispersed in the air as a dust or can be carried on items such as mail or clothing. However, unlike the common cold or flu, anthrax infection itself is NOT spread from one person to another. These guidelines emphasize preventing the spread of anthrax spores through careful handling and isolation of suspicious packages and their contents.
General Mail Handling
Characteristics of Suspicious Packages and Letters
If You Receive or Discover a Suspicious Package or Letter
After leaving the area:
Designated responders or other appropriate authority will determine the need for further action, which may include:
NOTE: Employers should designate individuals who are trained to respond in the event that an employee receives a suspicious mailing. As a minimum, the designated responders should know how to contact facility managers, local emergency responders, and local law enforcement officials. Additionally, the designated responders should have authority to secure potentially contaminated areas or to direct other individuals to do so.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
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