Anthrax hoax reported in Calif.

An anthrax scare that caused six people to be examined on Wednesday at Dole Food Co. in Westlake Village, Calif., was determined to be a false alarm by a hazardous materials response team.  

Emergency personnel responded to a report of a suspicious package at the Dole corporate offices at 9:24 a.m., according to Inspector Matt Levesque, a Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesperson, the Ventura County Star reports.

Six employees opened the package, which was addressed in Spanish, before learning some of the writing on it said it contained anthrax. A hazardous materials response team, personnel from the Department of Homeland Security and personnel from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene after the report.

The teams determined the package was not harmful and the incident was a false alarm, according to the Ventura County Star. The six employees were examined and showed no sign of exposure to a harmful substance. The building was not evacuated during the ordeal.

Anthrax was used as a weapon in the United States in 2001 when it was deliberately spread through the postal system by sending letters containing an anthrax powder. This led to 22 cases of anthrax infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis and, if inhaled, can lead to cold- or flu-like symptoms at first that can become deadly if not treated.