Postal Union Leaders Say Two Anthrax Deaths Could Have Been Prevented If Officials Hadlistened to Workers

October 23, 2001

Two postal workers, Joseph Curseen and Thomas Morris, have died of what appears to be anthrax, after reporting toemergency rooms only hours earlier. Two others have also contracted inhalational anthrax, and nine other people aresuffering from anthrax-like symptoms and are awaiting results. As the House closed and several Senate buildings shutdown after some thirty people were exposed to anthrax spores from a letter to Senator Daschle, many postal workerswondered whether they should be tested and take antibiotics. But their bosses told them that the risk of exposure tothe bacteria was minimal and that there was no need for antibiotics. Now the Brentwood Road mail center, whichprocesses all letters sent to Congress, has become the newest epicenter of the letter-borne anthrax. Local postalunion leaders said the two deaths might have been prevented if officials had respected workers’ requests for earliertesting and antibiotic distribution.


  • William Smith, President of the New York Metro Postal Workers Union.