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Florida highway safety agency building evacuated over anthrax scare

Florida’s highway safety agency was evacuated Monday morning and 1,100 state workers were sent home after employees found a threatening letter that mentioned anthrax.

Officials with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said no anthrax was found.

Hazardous materials teams were studying the letter and yellow crime scene tape was strung around the perimeter of the building.

“What a mess,’’ said Julie Jones, highway safety director. “We believe that everybody was safely evacuated out of the building.’’

Jones said the threatening letter was addressed to her personally but she had not seen it and was not familiar with the contents.

“When they opened it up, it threatened that the letter had white powder in it and said 'This is anthrax and I hope u die,’ ” she said.

Anthrax is a potentially fatal disease caused by spore-forming bacterium. It occurs most commonly in wild and domestic animals and can occur in humans exposed to infected animals. Anthrax spores have been used as a bioterrorist weapon.

Follow the developing story from Steve Bousquet here.