Traces of anthrax have been found in the offices of Florida Sen. Bob Graham and two other senators.
The discovery adds a new wrinkle to plans to decontaminate the Hart Building, where those offices are located. But officials said no congressional employees were at risk because it was such a small amount and the building has been closed for three weeks. Anyone who was exposed to the bacteria before the building was closed should have come down with symptoms of the disease by now.
Health officials "really don't think there is any cause for concern here," Graham spokesman Paul Anderson said Saturday. "This is apparently a miniscule amount."
In addition to Graham's office, traces were also found in the offices of Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho.
Spores also were found in the office of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., on the sixth floor of the Longworth House office building, according to Lt. Dan Nichols of the Capitol Police. The office already was closed because it was next to an office where anthrax had been discovered.
In Graham's office, the spores were found on a desk where mail is sorted. Health officials believe the spores may have been carried on a piece of mail that was in the same cart that carried the anthrax-filled letter to Sen. Tom Daschle.
The discovery complicates the plan to decontaminate the building, which houses half of the 100 senators. Officials had been considering using a powerful gas in a section of the building. But Graham's office is in another section and officials have not decided how it should be decontaminated.
Graham and about 30 staffers took antibiotics shortly after the Daschle letter was discovered and no one has come down with the disease.
"We have gone past the incubation period in the time we have been locked out of the Hart Building, so there should be no danger to anyone in our office," Anderson said.
Graham and Bill Nelson, a Florida senator who also has an office in Hart, have been working out of makeshift offices in the Capitol and other buildings for the past three weeks. Officials do not know when Hart will reopen.
Feinstein said "the medical risk is virtually zero" from the trace of anthrax. She said her staff has not reported any medical problems that can be associated with the disease.
Nichols said that based on the amount of anthrax found, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was not recommending antibiotics for anyone who had been in the contaminated Longworth or Hart areas.
_ Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.