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October 31, 2001 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-31

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 7

Investigators unsure how anthrax is spreading

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Anthrax infec-
tions in two East Coast women with no
known links to contaminated letters are
forcing government officials to rethink
basic assumptions about how easily the
disease may infect people and how
widely it may have spread through the
Government investigators said yes-
terday they could not explain how the
deadly bacteria infected a New Jersey
bookkeeper, who is recovering ,from
skin anthrax, and a 61-year-old New
York hospital supply clerk who is criti-
cally ill with the more dangerous
inhaled form of the disease.
Continued from Page 1
one government agency within the last
According to the survey, the most c
mon reasons universities were askei
release records of students were ethni
and major, such as those taking Englis
a second language or aviation program:
More than 950 of the schools i
responded to the survey said they had
been contacted by the FBI or INS al
releasing international student infor
According to officials here, the Uni
sity has not been contacted.
"Right now we're not aware of
inquiries for U-M Student informati4
Continued from Page 1
the country regarding affirmative
"Affirmative action is more than race
in admissions and that what the Uni-
versity is doing to support and defend it
in terms of the lawsuits is great, but stu-
dents need to get involved in looking at
all the ways affirmative action operates
on campus," she said.
Geyer said the event was planned
"to organize around increasing recruit-
ment and retention in spite of and
because of these attacks, and to
encourage students to take a proactive
approach as opposed to just reacting to
the legal attacks."
LSA freshman Alex Byrne said he
saw a chalk advertisement in the front

The women are the nation's 15th and
16th confirmed anthrax, victims, but
neither appear to have received suspi-
cious mail or spent time at a contami-
nated postal facility.
"Did they get infected from a piece
of mail that went to their home?" asked
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director at the
National Institute of Allergy and Infec-
tious Diseases. "That is being inten-
sively investigated right now"
Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), whose
Capitol Hill office tested positive for
anthrax traces, said the newest cases
raise the level of concern for everyone.
"Up until now, it was easy for most
people to say: 'Well, I don't work in a
post office, and I'm not a public figure,
said University spokeswoman

so therefore I don't have to worry,' "
Holt said.
The greatest concern involves the
New York woman, who asked officials
not to disclose her name. Until now,
health officials have assumed that an
inhalation anthrax infection could only
be acquired by a person who breathed
thousands of anthrax spores.
Health experts also instructed any-
one who had spent at least one hour in
the Manhattan hospital since Oct. 11
- an estimated 5,500 employees,
patients and visitors - to start taking
That, they believed, would be impos-
sible unless a person came into direct
contact with a letter containing

anthrax. So-called cross-contamination
- a letter simply picking up spores by
moving through the postal system --
would not be enough, officials have
If the woman received such a letter,
that would be a significant new front in
the anthrax problem. To date, the only
confirmed anthrax-laced letters have
been to media organizations and the
office of Senate Majority Leader Tom
Daschle (D-S.D.).
If she did not receive a letter, howev-
er, then officials must confront the pos-
sibility that anthrax is more infectious
than they had believed.
"It's not what we know or don't
know that gets us in trouble. It's what

we know that turns out to be wrong,"
said John D. Clements, chairman of
microbiology and immunology at the
Tulane University School of Medicine.
"This could be a classic example of
Government officials have relied on
research conducted by the Department
of Defense in the 1980s suggesting
that inhaling 8,000 anthrax spores can
cause lethal infections in monkeys.
Other studies by the World Health
Organization place the figure at
50,000 spores among animal hide
workers in Third World countries. A
1999 paper in the Journal of the
American Medical Assn. suggests that
- inhaling 2,500 spores or more would

cause an inhalation infection.
Dr. Bradley Perkins, an anthrax
expert at the Centers for Disease Con-
trol and Prevention int Atlanta, said
Tuesday that no one can accurately pin-
point the number of spores needed to
cause infection in humans.
"We know at the two extremes," he
said, noting that a large number -
more than 5,000, for example - clear-
ly poses a significant human danger.
Fewer than 10 pose very little risk.
"It's what's in between" that is an
issue, he said. "We don't have either
research experience or even clinical
experience or epidemiological experi-
ence to be able to give a definitive
answer on that."

Julie Peter-

Matt Kurz, a spokesman for Western
Michigan University, said the school has
been contacted by a governmental agency
for information but not about students.
Western Michigan has one of the three
largest aviation programs in the United
States. Some of the men suspected of
hijacking planes and flying them into the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon
trained at flight schools in the United
States, although none of them have been
linked to Western Michigan.
"We've had some contact regarding our
aviation program after the September 11
tragedies," Kurz said. "I don't know of any
inquiries that have been made '(regarding
student information). It would be our poli-

cy to cooperate, especially given the con-
ditions right now."
Universities in Indiana, California and
Minnesota have reportedly turned over
information to federal agencies. Accord-
ing to a CNN report, Indiana University
gave up information on hundreds of stu-
dents who were studying English as a sec-
ond language over the last five years.
Information held by universities regard-
ing U.S. citizens is protected by the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which
requires that eligible students give written
consent before any records are released.
While international students were previ-
ously protected by this act, a clause in the
act specifies that information can be
released if there is a health or safety risk
regarding that student.

Continued from Page 1
suspicions terrorist cells already trained or
financed by bin Laden's network might be willing
to act without a central order from Afghanistan.
Key members of Congress said such a decen-
tralization was feared because it would make it
more difficult to detect where the next attacks
were coming from.
"If there are people who would do us harm, we
have to assume those people are probably trained
to do, things without a specific order," said Sen.
Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate
Intelligence Committee.
A senior U.S. official said American intelli-
gence doesn't have sufficient evidence to deter-
mine whether this decentralization is already
taking place but it is of concern.

U.S. intelligence also is considering the possi-
bility that the terrorists, aware of the extensive
effort to intercept their communications, may be
planting false communications to disguise their
real plans, officials said.
"My guess is the terrorist network is not going
to avoid using the tool of disinformation," said
Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee.
Added Shelby: "You have to believe that any
messages could be disinformation."
Government officials said they are open to the
possibility that even the intelligence received in
the last week may be designed to deceive the
United States and its allies.
In addition, the officials said, U.S. intelligence
is reassessing information received this spring
and summer that led to a CIA warning in June
that bin Laden might strike overseas.

of the Union and decided to stop by to
see what was going on. He said he
appreciated that SSAA was promoting
its cause without "screaming from the
steps of the Grad Library."
"I kind of like the quiet atmosphere
because you tend to ignore people who
shout at you," Byrne said.
RC junior Susie Harter, who stopped
while passing through the Diag when
she saw the tables set up with informa-
tion from different student groups, said
she wanted to see what the groups were
talking about and to show her support
for affirmative action.
"It's important for our campus com-
munity and the large community to see
there's students on this campus who
think affirmative action is important
and valid and want to fight for it," she

Continued from Page 1
GSIs play as both student and teacher.
"We want to support the academic
careers of our graduate students. We
want them to do well and we want
them to have the time and money they
need to succeed," said Associate
Provost Paul Courant.
"Bargaining with GEO is different
than bargaining with the other six
unions on campus .., because they are
graduate students," said Dan Gamble,
the chief negotiator for the University.
"We are aware of a lot of subjects
that crisscross with their being gradu-
ate students and instructors," Gamble
An issue of contention last year
between GEO and the College of Litera-

tore, Science and the Arts was the so-
called "bottom-line budgeting" propos-
al, which was originally believed to
impose a financial burden on depart-
ments within LSA by restricting the
amount of money available to hire GSIs.
The major concern was that depart-
ments would hire less expensive in-state
GSIs over potentially more qualified
out-of-state and international GSIs.
Bottom-line budgeting is a policy
LSA employs to funnel funds to
departments and programs within the
college by providing a fixed amount of
LSA instead uses what it calls the
"slot model," a more flexible policy in
which 4he college tells departments
how many GSIs they can hire and then
pays for whatever the final cost may

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Continued from Page 1
AAPD is conducting an investigation to determine
whether the victim's drink was drugged.
Although the fraternity is not alcohol-free, Beta Theta Pi
could face consequences for holding an unauthorized event
with alcohol.
G Mike Kokkinen, director of risk management for the frater-
nity's national organization, said there have not been any prob-
lems with the University of Michigan chapter in recent years.
the michigan daily

Kokkinen said Beta Theta Pi executives are working with
the local chapter, Ann Arbor police and University officials
to make sure the investigation is thorough and the situation
is resolved.
"Action will not be taken ... until the investigation is
complete," Kokkinen said.
The national organization and the Office of Greek Life
will evaluate the chapter's situation when a formal report is
"We're not going to comment on the incident right now'
said Mary Beth Seiler,- the University's director of Greek
Life. "We need to let the investigation take place."


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