Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told the Associated Press that Malaysian officials were "shocked and deeply disturbed" over the matter. Malaysia appealed to the FBI for all relevant information about the case.
Second Possible Exposure at NBC
On Saturday, authorities said a letter addressed to Brokaw and postmarked Sept. 18 in Trenton, N.J., contained a substance that tested positive for anthrax spores. Authorities believe that letter contained the anthrax that infected the NBC employee. Another letter postmarked Sept. 20 in St. Petersburg, Fla., was first believed to have been the infected letter but it has tested negative.
Erin O'Connor, Brokaw's personal assistant, contracted cutaneous, or "skin," anthrax — less dangerous than inhaled anthrax and rarely fatal if treated.
Because Trenton, N.J. is a major collection and dispersal point for mail in the region, it was not clear where the letter originated.
A second NBC News assistant who handled the Sept. 18 letter was tested Saturday for exposure. She was taking antibiotics and exhibited possible early symptoms of anthrax, including a low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes and a rash.
Several floors of the NBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center will remain closed for at least a few days as health officials test the building. So far, 358 employees have been tested along with other workers in the area.
Despite being the apparent target of the threat, Brokaw maintained a normal schedule and was seen Saturday shopping in a New York suburb. Several passersby wished him well and asked about his assistant.
"She'll be fine," Brokaw replied. "But this is no isolated incident."
Since Friday, reports of anthrax exposure or possibly contaminiated mail have cropped up elsewhere around the country — including at media outlets such as The New York Times, CBS News' Washington bureau and Sony Pictures Entertainment in Culver City, Calif. — but they were found to be false alarms.
President Bush referred to the infections and scares Saturday in his radio address to the nation.
"I understand that many Americans are feeling uneasy," he said. "But all Americans should be assured: We are taking strong precautions. We are vigilant, we are determined, the country is alert."
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said today the government is taking steps to be ready to respond to any health-related terrorist threat that might arise.
"We will be able to respond, but we can't take care of every contingency at this point in time," Thompson said today on ABCNEWS' This Week. "We are prepared for what we know is out there, and that's what we want to make sure the American public knows."