Anthrax hoax letter sent to Florida senator

The office of a U.S. senator in Jacksonville, Florida, was shut down this week after a letter containing a white powdery substance was discovered.

The office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was evacuated after the powder was found on Monday afternoon, according to

In a statement, Nelson told that he was in the office on Monday but left before the letter was opened by a staff member. Nelson was in town for a fundraiser and to discuss the future of the Mayport Naval Station.

Six people were evacuated from the 20th floor of the Riverplace Tower as a precaution once the envelope was found. Tom Francis, a spokesman for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, told that the rest of the building was unaffected. Additionally, no injuries were reported.

The powder was later identified as corn starch and was not dangerous, reports.

Rigid precautions were developed  by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the transmission of anthrax through the mail after several letters containing anthrax were sent through the mail in several areas of the United States in 2001.

Although there have been no recent mail-related anthrax exposures, the CDC recommends that all persons should take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and others from exposure to Bacillus anthracis.