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Suspicious vial not a biological hazard

By Blake Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 10, 2000
Talk about this story

Contents still unknown, but lethal possibilities are ruled out

Tests done on a suspicious vial found on the UA campus March 31 revealed that the tube did not contain a lethal virus, the FBI confirmed Friday.

The vial - which had the word "ebola" written on it - was sent to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta last week to determine its contents.

"The CDC determined it wasn't a biological hazard," FBI Special Agent Suzy Bailliere said.

University police now consider the incident a prank, said UAPD Cmdr. Brian Seastone.

About 500 students had to be evacuated from the Chemistry and Biological Sciences building, 1340 E. University Blvd., March 31 when a suspicious vial was found in a breezeway by a University of Arizona security guard.

Authorities from the CDC and the FBI were called in to investigate.

While the CDC found that the contents of the vial were not a threat to human life, officials did not do further testing to determine what was actually in the tube, Bailliere added.

The vial will now be sent to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. to test for fingerprints and to determine its contents.

Seastone said that while the university community can stop worrying, the investigation is far from over.

"We will continue to follow-up with the FBI to figure out what the contents of the vial were," Seastone said.

UAPD will also attempt to determine why the tube was placed outside the CBS building and who put it there.

Seastone said serious federal and state charges could still be filed against those responsible.

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