Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Anthrax Findings Presented By NIH Researcher

Date:
November 15, 2001
Source:
NIH/Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center
Summary:
An NIH Clinical Center researcher, in collaboration with physicians in Maryland and Washington DC, has published a detailed assessment of the fatal cases of inhalational anthrax that occurred in two District of Columbia postal workers.

An NIH Clinical Center researcher, in collaboration with physicians in Maryland and Washington DC, has published a detailed assessment of the fatal cases of inhalational anthrax that occurred in two District of Columbia postal workers. The findings, which will be published in the Nov. 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, have been posted ahead of publication at http://www.jama.com because of their public health importance.

"These results are presented in an effort to make doctors aware of what to look for when diagnosing suspected anthrax patients," said Dr. Luciana Borio, lead author of the paper. Borio, who is fellow in the Critical Care Medicine Department of the NIH Clinical Center and researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, published the findings in collaboration with physicians at the Greater Southeast and Southern Maryland Hospitals, and the DC and Maryland Medical Examiners Office. An accompanying editorial by Anthony S. Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and H. Clifford Lane, MD, NIAID Clinical Director, is also posted on the JAMA website.

Because the symptoms in these two cases were nonspecific, they were initially misidentified as flu or other common infections. However, a later review of the laboratory data showed pathology different from common infections, according to Borio. Both patients' blood tests showed increased white blood-cell counts and concentrated red blood-cell counts. Neither finding would normally be seen in flu patients, said Borio. In addition, blood cultures quickly showed long chains of the distinctive anthrax bacilli.

"Laboratory tests should be ordered if there is any suspicion of anthrax," Borio stressed. "Both cases show the importance of testing by microbiology laboratories with staff experienced in growing and identifying these unusual organisms."

Both postal workers also developed fluid build up in the chest and infiltrates in the lungs that resembled pneumonia on radiologic images. "It would have been easy to misdiagnose these cases as pneumonia, and thus rule out anthrax, if doctors had relied on the x-rays alone," said Borio.

"It's essential that doctors are familiar with how anthrax presents in order to distinguish it from more common infections," said Borio. "Both patients were sick enough to seek medical help," she said, "but neither had symptoms that would normally require further tests or hospitalization, so they were initially sent home."

The two anthrax victims were among five postal workers who worked at the Brentwood postal facility in Washington who contracted anthrax in October. One had gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. The other had flu-like symptoms, including muscle ache, discomfort and fatigue. Both developed chest pain and breathing difficulty, eventually requiring a respirator.

Doctors made a working diagnosis of anthrax after the media reported two other postal workers from the same facility were diagnosed with anthrax. Although both were treated with antibiotics, both died within 24 hours of hospitalization.

"Without warning that anthrax was present in the community, doctors would be unlikely to consider such a rare conditon," said Dr. Henry Masur, chief of critical care medicine at the NIH Clinical Center. "The analysis and prompt publication of these findings will help doctors avoid such tragic consequences in the future."

Other authors contributing to this study were Dennis Frank, MD; Venkat Mani, MD; Carlos Chiriboga, MD; Michael Pollanen, MD, PhD; Mary Ripple, MD; Syed Ali, MD; Constance DiAngelo, MD, MS; Jacqueline Lee, MD; Jonathan Arden, MD; Jack Titus, MD; David Fowler, MD; Tara O'Toole, MD, MPH; John Bartlett, MD; and Thomas Inglesby, MD.

The Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center is the research hospital of the National Institutes of Health. Through clinical research, physicians and scientists translate laboratory discoveries into better treatments, therapies and interventions to improve the nation's health. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center. "Anthrax Findings Presented By NIH Researcher." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011115073308.htm>.
NIH/Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center. (2001, November 15). Anthrax Findings Presented By NIH Researcher. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011115073308.htm
NIH/Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center. "Anthrax Findings Presented By NIH Researcher." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011115073308.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Nigeria Ups Ebola Stakes on 1st Death

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Nigerian authorities have shut and quarantined a Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of the Ebola virus, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Africa's most populous economy. David Pollard reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Running 5 Minutes A Day Might Add Years To Your Life

Newsy (July 29, 2014) According to a new study, just five minutes of running or jogging a day could add years to your life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Ebola Outbreak Poses Little Threat To U.S.: CDC

Newsy (July 29, 2014) The Ebola outbreak in West Africa poses little threat to Americans, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins