A New Jersey doctor who wonders if he might have been the first person infected in the anthrax attack is still waiting for the FBI to talk to him about what he might know.
What makes his story potentially significant is that his symptoms appeared long before those who were infected by the letters mailed Sept. 30 — actually a week before the terror attacks of Sept. 11.
At the time he had a sore with a black scab, followed by what was diagnosed in a hospital as meningitis. In an interview with ABCNEWS' Good Morning America, Dr. Jerry Weisfogel said he may have had a brush with the anthrax attacker, but the government has ignored his story.
Four people have died, one person is in serious condition and 16 others are recovering from anthrax infection, while at least 37 others have been exposed to the spores.
The FBI says it is pursuing more than 1,000 leads, including at least 100 that have taken investigators overseas.
Weisfogel works in the town of Kendall Park, N.J., which is near Franklin Park, the town found on the return address of the anthrax-contaminated letter that was mailed to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
There's no Greendale school, which was given as the return address, but there is a Greenbrook school in Weisfogel's town, and it only goes to the fourth grade. The return address of the letter sent to Daschle said, "4th Grade, Greendale School."
"It obviously made me think that there may have been some local connection between where my office is, between what I had and wherever the perpetrators of the anthrax mailings are," Weisfogel said.
Could There Be a ‘Cluster 0’?
But Weisfogel said that, to his amazement, he had a hard time getting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get interested in his case. They told him his case appeared too early to be connected, even when he suggested that his could have been the first case.
"That's exactly what I said," Weisfogel said. "I said, 'You have Case 1 and Case 2 or Cluster 1 and Cluster 2. How do you know there was not a Cluster 0?'"
Weisfogel said he originally diagnosed his black scab as a spider bite, but now he wonders if his mistake might not have been the same misdiagnosis so commonly seen in anthrax cases.
What's more, he said, he wonders if the bioterrorist responsible for the letters might have been in his office.
"Have I come across patients from countries who might be doing this? Yes," Weisfogel said.
Weisfogel admits that there is no proof that anyone he treated had any connection to the rash of anthrax-contaminated letters received by lawmakers and media companies, but said it is "a possible lead" in a case in which investigators seem to have almost no leads, other than a trail of anthrax infections and spores all going back to New Jersey.
On Thursday, after the CDC became aware that Weisfogel was telling his story to Good Morning America, the agency tested his blood for anthrax antibodies. He was told it could be weeks before the results of the tests are in.