General News

Dan Rather's aide tests positive for anthrax

Oct 18, 2001 | 9:49am EDT

An assistant to CBS News anchor Dan Rather tested positive for anthrax Thursday. The employee, a young woman, contracted the skin form of the disease and becomes the fifth person to test positive for anthrax infection, CBS released.

The woman noticed what looked like a bug bite on her chin and went for testing several days ago. She was given a prescription for Cipro once the anthrax diagnosis was confirmed.

She is expected to make a full recovery.

CBS News President Andrew Heyward sent a message to CBS employees this morning, emphasizing that the disease is not contagious.

"We learned this morning that a CBS News employee in Dan Rather's office has tested positive for the cutaneous form of anthrax. She is being treated with antibiotics and is expected to make a full recovery; in fact, she feels fine. As you know, anthrax is not contagious, and this is the most easily curable form of the disease."

Heyward said he spoke to Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Police Commissioner, and the New York City Health Department.

"The Health Department and other investigators will be back in the Broadcast Center this morning to interview employees who work in the same vicinity and to determine what the next steps should be.

"We have been informed by New York City Health Commissioner that it is safe to continue working while this investigation gets underway. Obviously we will take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety. I'll be back with more later this morning."

Earlier tests by the Center for Disease Control indicate no signs of anthrax spores in the building.

No infected letter has been found at CBS, and it is not clear how the woman contacted anthrax. This development, however, means that the parties responsible have targeted CBS, along with ABC and NBC.

More General News