Physician Recognition of Bioterrorism-Related Diseases
In October 2001, the United States experienced an unprecedented bioterrorist attack associated with the intentional release of Bacillus anthracis through mailed letters and packages (1) . Five deaths and 17 other cases of anthrax were confirmed. Clinicians and clinical laboratories had a primary role in the response to this attack. One of the most important lessons has been the recognition that the capacity to respond effectively depends largely on the local efforts, particularly among clinicians, hospitals, and the public health departments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working to strengthen the local response by helping to ensure that all frontline clinicians have a baseline set of information to recognize and treat bioterrorism-related diseases and to exclude these diseases as part of the differential diagnosis. Furthermore, it is important that physicians recognize their role as first responders in a covert bioterrorism attack.
KeywordsBacillus Anthracis Yersinia Pestis Biological Weapon Francisella Tularensis Lassa Fever
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