New York officials say an NBC Nightly News employee was infected with anthrax after the network received mail containing a suspicious powder. According to The Associated Press, the network employee has a less-serious skin infection and is expected to recover.
In a memo sent to NBC employees Friday morning, NBC President Andy Lack and NBC Chairman Bob Wright said the infection was not the inhaled form of the disease, which killed a Florida man last week. He also said the employee had received treatment and was responding well.
At a news conference in New York, Tom Brokaw rubbed his eyes and wiped his brow before confirming that the woman was an employee of Nightly News.
The letter to NBC that may have transmitted the anthrax was postmarked Sept. 25. The infected woman has been treated with the antibiotic Cipro since Oct. 1.
As a precaution, authorities have now sealed areas at NBC’s Rockefeller Plaza headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
A powdery substance that was received in a letter to The New York Times is also being tested. A spokesperson for the Times confirmed that the paper’s third-floor newsroom was emptied and that employees were told to move elsewhere in the building. The street outside the offices, which are located near Times Square, was closed.
The Associated Press, which is located across the street, also temporarily closed its mailroom operations.
Meanwhile, NBC has tightened security and is setting up an information center for employees. ABC and CBS have received no anthrax threats but a CBS spokesperson said the network has closed off the mailroom at its New York headquarters and is no longer taking in new mail.
Officials are warning people to leave suspicious mail alone and contact authorities instead.