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Old November 2nd, 2001, 07:44 AM
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Sample from Bhujbal's office tests positive for anthrax

Express News Service

Mumbai, November 2: One of the four samples from suspicious mails at Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal's office has tested positive for anthrax at a private laboratory in Thane. The mail which was tested positive reached at Bhujbal's office on October 24.

The samples had also been sent to the government-run Haffkine Institute but the result was negative there. The samples were also sent to Molecular Diagnostic and Research Centre in Thane.

“Out of the four samples sent to the Molecular Diagnostic and Research Centre in Thane, one sample shows undisputed evidence of presence of anthrax bacilli. However, repeated efforts to the culture the anthrax germs by conventional method at Haffkine Institute have shown any such growth,'' said the report prepared by Subhash Salunke, director general, Health Services.

“In view of these results, it is necessary that the suspicious sample is tested independently by other labs which have advanced lab facility,'' Salunke added. Two of the suspicious-looking packets arrived at Bhujbal's office while the other two were received by the Chief Minister's office.

“The lab in Thane is not a govt-recognised one so now we are sending the samples to DRDO, Gwalior Microbiology Dept of JJ Hospital. We are going to get the reports after 48 hours,'' said Digvijay Khanvilkar, State Health Minister.

``In the meantime, there does not appear to be any cause of anxiety as the growth of the organisms from suspicious samples is extremely slow or negative,'' he added. The staff at Bhujbal's office as well as at the Haffkine's Institute who handled the suspected anthrax mail are all in good condition.
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