CDC publishes list of those who should take anti-anthrax drugs as precaution

Thursday, November 15th 2001, 12:00 am

By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ People who visited a Florida tabloid office as far back as August are among those urged by the government to take a two-month regimen of drugs to protect against anthrax.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a list Thursday of specific groups who should take the antibiotics _ Cipro or doxycycline _ because they may have been exposed to anthrax bacteria.

The agency said employees and visitors to American Media Inc. in Boca Raton, Fla., who spent more than an hour in the building between Aug. 1 and Oct. 6 should go on the 60-day regimen.

Other groups urged by the CDC to take the protective drugs include:

_Employees on the second and third floors of the south section of the Morgan Central Postal Facility in Manhattan between Oct. 9 and Oct. 26. Five machines there have tested positive for anthrax.

_Workers and visitors who were in the postal service's Route 130 Processing and Distribution Center in Hamilton, N.J., between Sept. 18 and Oct. 18. Two employees there contracted inhalation anthrax.

_People who were on the fifth and sixth floors of the southeast wing of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 15. An anthrax-filled letter to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was opened there that day.

_Employees and visitors to the nonpublic mailroom of the postal service's Brentwood facility in Washington between Oct. 12 and Oct. 21. Two postal workers there died of inhalation anthrax.

_Mailroom employees and visitors who were at the State Department's Annex 32 mailroom in Sterling, Va., between Oct. 12 and Oct. 22. A mail handler there contracted inhalation anthrax.

The CDC says about 32,000 people have taken the antibiotics as a precaution since anthrax cases. Doctors advised most of those people to come off the drugs after investigators determined they were not at risk for exposure.

Health officials have urged doctors not to overprescribe the drugs _ particularly Cipro _ because they can cause minor side effects and can build up antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

About 5,000 people are already taking the full 60-day regimen, the CDC said last week.

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