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October 10, 2001
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Now, anthrax alert in Montreal

Ajit Jain in Toronto

A brown envelope from American Media Inc, Florida, which reported two cases of Anthrax last week, was delivered on Wednesday to an office building in Montreal, Canada.

The delivery sparked an anthrax alert in the city and the 15-storey downtown building that houses Globe International Inc, which received the envelope, was evacuated.

As many as six fire trucks and a dozen police vans arrived and about six blocks were cordoned off for three hours.

Globe International is a sister company of American Media.

The employee who received the envelope got suspicious about the contents of the envelope and called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Reports said a special team of fire fighters with gas masks and protective gear entered the building to retrieve the envelope. Its contents were being analysed.

One person from American Media died and another had tested positive to anthrax. According to local health authorities, both persons were exposed to Anthrax from the same source.

Montreal public health official Paul Le Gurrier reportedly said the chances that anyone at the Globe International was contaminated by the envelope were "practically nil", because the envelope hadn't been opened.

"We told people not to worry," he said.

Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock said there was no reason for panic.

He said research into potential biological agents had been accelerated and health authorities across the country had been put on alert.

"But let me assure the Canadians that the biggest disease we have to face right now is fear, and there's no reason for the people to regard this as anything but a remote threat," Rock said in Ottawa after a federal cabinet meeting.

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