The U.S. Postal Service has issued the following guidelines for handling suspicious mail in light of the recent anthrax attacks:

What constitutes a suspicious letter or parcel?

Some typical characteristics that ought to trigger suspicion include letters or parcels that:

– Have any powdery substance on the outside.

– Are unexpected or from someone unfamiliar to you.

– Have excessive postage, handwritten or poorly typed address, incorrect titles or titles with no name, or misspellings of common words.

– Are addressed to someone no longer with your organization or are otherwise outdated.

– Have no return address, or have one that can’t be verified as legitimate.

– Are of unusual weight, given their size, or are lopsided or oddly shaped.

– Have an unusual amount of tape.

– Are marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential.”

– Have strange odors or stains.

What should you do if you receive an anthrax threat by mail?

– Do not handle the mail piece or package suspected of contamination.

– Make sure that damaged or suspicious packages are isolated and the immediate area cordoned off.

– Ensure that all persons who have touched the mail piece wash their hands with soap and water.

– Notify your local law enforcement authorities.

– List all persons who have touched the letter and/or envelope. Include contact information and have this information available for the authorities.

– Place all items worn when in contact with the suspected mail piece in plastic bags and have them available for law enforcement agents.

– As soon as practical, shower with soap and water.

– Notify the Center for Disease Control Emergency Response at 770-488-7100 for answers to any questions.