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Nov 28, 2001

Health authorities say no anthrax in Belize

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Following recent reports by the local press that a Belize City man had been hospitalised with symptoms of anthrax, today the Ministry of Health went on record to say that not only is that information grossly inaccurate, it is stirring up nothing but creative rumours and panic. According to the Ministry of Health’s Glenn Tillett, the man in question received a suspicious letter from Geneva, Switzerland more than a week ago and for reasons all his own–not because of any symptoms–he decided to go to the hospital.

Glenn Tillett

“The Ministry of Health is trying to disseminate to the media that there are no suspected cases of anthrax anywhere in Belize and we have no reasons to believe that there are any suspected cases of anthrax in Belize.”

Janelle Chanona

“So can you explain why go to hospitalising this man because you know, Belize people, if you send him to hospital, something must be wrong with him.”

Glenn Tillett

“It is simply a precautionary measure because the symptoms of anthrax can take anywhere from six days to sixty days to appear.

At this point the health authorities do not believe it’s anthrax. What happened is that yesterday a gentleman who works with the Public Service showed up at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital with an envelope he said he received on November sixteenth that had traces of a powdery substance in it. He said that he had opened the envelope, it appeared to have been tampered with, it had a pencil size hole was in it and he had come to the health authorities as a precautionary measure.”

According to Tillett, the man remains hospitalised, receiving antibiotic treatment, but is to be released shortly. The letter and the contents were sent to a medical lab in Mexico City today for tests. Those results are expected by next Wednesday. Since the first post September eleventh cases of anthrax were reported in the United States, there have been thousands of false alarms in the U.S.A. and around the world. As a precaution, the office where the envelope was opened will be decontaminated by authorities.

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