In September and October 2001, letters laced with Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores were sent through the mail to two U.S. senators and to members of the media. These letters led to the first U.S. cases of anthrax disease related to bioterrorism. In all, 22 individuals, in four states and Washington, D.C., contracted anthrax disease; 5 died. These cases prompted the Subcommittee to ask GAO to describe and assess federal agencies' activities to detect anthrax in postal facilities, assess the results of agencies' testing, and assess whether agencies' detection activities were validated.
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