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Anthrax tests all negative

Suspicious white powder found at several locations in Harrison and Crawford counties have all tested negative for anthrax.
Det. Richard Bauman said eight samples collected by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. are not the deadly bacteria that people have become fearful of since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Two samples were taken from hotels in Corydon. Bauman said one turned out to be residue from toilet paper and the other was cocaine.
Also testing negative were two items residents received in the mail. One was in New Salisbury, the other in Palmyra.
A resident in the north part of the county reported a white substance on their porch. It turned out to be residue from a fire extinguisher, Bauman said.
Two other reports, one involving a book purchased at the Goodwill Industries store in Corydon and the other at the photo lab at the Corydon Wal-Mart Supercenter, also were unfounded.
Milltown Chief Marshal Ray Saylor said two suspicious packages found in mailboxes in Milltown tested negative.
More than 370 samples have been tested for anthrax at the Indiana Dept. of Health, none of which have resulted in the deadly bacteria.
The only recent reported case of anthrax in Indiana was after a postal worker contracted the disease when contaminated equipment was shipped to an Indianapolis post office from an Eastern state.
While the lab has been working overtime to test the suspected items, the staff has not been overtaxed. They are receiving assistance from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Marion County Health Dept.
Indiana State Health Commissioner Greg Wilson cautioned Hoosiers against inappropriate use of antibiotics as a result of fear of exposure to anthrax.
“I understand the reasons for taking the antibiotics as a preventive health measure in cases where there is a credible threat,” he said, “but I caution that antibiotics not be overused. The overuse of antibiotics can cause side effects in the patient and can lead to antibiotic resistance in bacteria that cause disease.”
Symptoms of exposure to anthrax usually occur within seven days but can vary depending on how the disease is contracted. Common symptoms include a low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes and a rash.
Wilson said that a “runny nose” and a sore throat are not common symptoms of anthrax.