The Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have published a case study examining the deaths of two Washington, D.C. postal workers who died from inhalational anthrax as the result of the bioterrorism attack. Both postal employees worked at the Brentwood facility, which processed an anthrax-laden letter mailed to Senator Tom Daschle on October 9, 2001. The report, which appears in the November 12, 2001 online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), illustrates the difficulty doctors and clinicians face in distinguishing the symptoms of anthrax from a number of other common illnesses. The report also emphasizes the need for better communication of epidemiological information to front-line medical providers and the need for rapid diagnostic tests for anthrax and other dangerous pathogens that could be used as biological weapons.
The symptoms of anthrax look like many other common diseases. None of the doctors who treated these patients suspected anthrax until they heard reports of other sick postal workers from the news media, says the studys lead author, Luciana Borio, MD, a fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies and the Critical Care Medicine Department, Clinical Center, at NIH. These cases emphasize the importance of developing more rapid lines of communications between medicine and public health. Clinicians need information to make a proper diagnosis and provide timely treatment for their patients, adds Dr. Borio.
According to the report, a 47 year-old male postal worker developed flu-like symptoms on October 16, which he attributed to food poisoning. A few days later, he sought medical attention in an emergency room, where he received intravenous fluids and anti-nausea medications. He was sent home after his symptoms improved.
On October 22, the man eventually collapsed at home and was tPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Tim Parsons or Ming Tai
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
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