Timeline of Florida 2001 anthrax attack
Boca Raton, Florida
* September 19, 2001: A letter addressed to Jennifer Lopez containing a
Star of David and a bluish powder arrived in the Sun's mailroom.
Several people handled the letter, and Stevens sniffed some of the
* September 30: Stevens began feeling ill on the last day of a five-day
vacation at his daughter's home in North Carolina
* October 1: 6 a.m. EDT Stevens returned to his home. He spent most of
the day in bed.
* October 2: 2-2:30 a.m. EDT Stevens was admitted to the John F. Kennedy
Hospital emergency room in Atlantis, Florida. presenting
disorientation, a high fever, vomiting, and inability to speak.
6 a.m. EDT Stevens was placed on a ventilator.
Stevens was examined for meningitis by infectious-disease specialist
Dr. Larry Bush. Bush found a high white blood cell count and rod-shaped
bacilli; he soon was convinced Stevens had contracted anthrax. He then
notified the Palm Beach County Health Department.
* October 3: In the evening, government investigators, including 12
investigators from the CDC, some from the Epidemic Intelligence
Service, began their investigation into Stevens' movements of the last
few days and potential sources of the anthrax. The hospital ships
spinal fluid samples to state health officials and the CDC.
* October 4: The CDC confirmed the anthrax diagnosis. Federal officials
announced that Stevens was admitted to a hospital on Tuesday with
non-contagious pulmonary anthrax. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson
suggested Stevens may have contracted anthrax from drinking water from
a contaminated stream, a medically far-fetched theory.
* October 5 4 p.m. EDT: Mr. Stevens died.
* Sunday, October 7 In the afternoon, the government sealed the American
Media building. In the evening, Bacillus anthracis spores were found on
a computer keyboard Stevens used at the offices of The Sun. Anthrax
spores were detected in the nasal passages of Ernesto Blanco, 73, mail
supervisor at The Sun. The authorities decided to test all employees in
* Monday, October 8 9 a.m. EDT 1,000 people, American Media employees or
other long-term visitors, underwent nasal swab tests and began taking
antibiotics from the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile.
* Tuesday, October 9 American Media employees underwent blood tests.
* Wednesday, October 10 8 p.m. EDT: Officials announced that a third
American Media employee tested positive for exposure to anthrax. The
CDC laboratories, located in Atlanta, suffered a power failure caused
by a short-circuited cable which lasted until Thursday morning.
* Thursday, October 11 Stephanie Dailey, 36, the third American Media
employee to test positive, identified herself and stated that she was
in good health.
* Saturday, October 13 American Media stated that the blood tests of five
more employees, including two Inquirer employees, tested positive for
* Monday, October 15 Ernesto Blanco was diagnosed with pulmonary anthrax,
and moved to the intensive care unit. The Florida Department of Health
announced that a minuscule amount of spores were found in the Boca
Raton post office. They were found in a small mail sorting area where
mail for American Media is handled, specifically in the throwback slot
of the letter case for the American Media route. The room was sealed
* Tuesday, October 16: It is reported that the anthrax bacteria sent to
NBC is of the same strain as that found in Boca Raton.