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                      Anthrax

Intro

Anthrax develops rapidly, so immediate medical attention is required. Go to a hospital's emergency Department if you have been or think you have been exposed to spores.

Prognosis and Follow-up
  • Prognosis: If treated early, people with cutaneous anthrax recover. Those with oropharyngeal or intestinal anthrax have a less favorable outcome, and people with inhalational anthrax have the worst outcomes. About one-half of the victims of the fall 2001 anthrax attacks died.
  • Follow-up: With cutaneous anthrax, 80% of people who are not treated will recover. If treated, they may be given medication and sent home. A permanent circular scar may remain at the site of the original lesion. For others, with inhalational, meningeal, or septicemic anthrax, hospitalization is required.
Prevention
  • An anthrax vaccine exists but is not readily available. It consists of a series of 6 immunizations given over 18 months. A booster is then available to be given annually, especially to those who have exposure to anthrax-containing animals or animal products. A skin test can determine if the vaccine is active.
  • To prevent infection from spores of B anthracis released in the air after a suspected bioterrorist attack, your doctor may prescribe ciprofloxacin or doxycycline for 60 days. Other antibiotics may be used once lab tests return showing which ones are effective.

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