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Doctor insights on: Anthrax Handling Mail

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What is the risk for getting anthrax from handling my own mail?

What is the risk for getting anthrax from handling my own mail?

Very, very low: According to an article written by ed o’keefe for the washington post, the United States postal service spends $101 million annually to screen all first-class mail. Envelopes are scanned and periodic air samples are taken to track for biologic agents. No harmful biological chemicals have been detected since 2002. ...Read more

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How can mail get cross-contaminated with anthrax?

How can mail get cross-contaminated with anthrax?

Only by design: Ordinary mail including packages will not pick up things like anthrax or other infectious agents. For this to happen, someone would have to, on purpose, open one piece of mail and insert anthrax. There is no chance for accidental contamination. ...Read more

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When there is a known incident, how can I prevent anthrax exposure from cross-contaminated mail?

Autoclave the mail: You worrying about an eventuality that is less likely to happen than you getting struck by lightening, so to speak. However, if you are paranoid, you could get your mail autoclaved. ...Read more

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Is anthrax a serious health risk?

Is anthrax a serious health risk?

Few Cases/ Serious: There are very few cases of anthrax - however infection wth anthrax is a serious healh problem with a high fatality rate for GI & inhalational anthrax. ...Read more

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Is anthrax in the soil all around us?

Is anthrax in the soil all around us?

Soil born spores: Anthrax spores are soil born. They can be ingested by herbivor mammals. These mammals can subsequently be eaten by carnivorous mammals. People can come in contact with infected hides or meat. Animal outbreaks are most often seen in undeveloped countries. ...Read more

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How many different types of anthrax are there?

How many different types of anthrax are there?

1 germ/3-4 forms: There is one anthrax germ that produces human illness based on how it enters the body. Inhaled spores can produce pulmonary anthrax (terrorist act), eating raw meat or dairy from infected animals can produce mouth & throat or gastrointestinal anthrax.Spores that are scratched into the skin surface can produce a skin sore.See www.Bt.Cdc.Gov/agent/anthrax. ...Read more

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What occurs if your body were exposed to anthrax?

Route of exposure: If anthrax spores are introduced into the skin, it causes a local sore and ulcer and mortality is limited. Eating contaminate meat causes gastro-intestinal infection with appreciable mortality. Inhalation of spores causes the most severe disease by affecting the lungs. See this site for more info. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: Anthrax?

What is the definition or description of: Anthrax?

Anthrax: Bacillus microbe that is highly resistant to extreme environmental states. Commonly occurs in livestock industry and has military potential in a weaponized state. Leads to eschar formation on skin as large black area of dead flesh. ...Read more

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Why is anthrax so hard to kill?

Spores: Anthrax bacterial form spores with a thick coat and the spore form can remain dormant for years. ...Read more

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Is my hookah poisoned with anthrax?

Not likely: But using tobacco is a very bad idea. ...Read more

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How is anthrax spread? Is it contagious?

How is anthrax spread? Is it contagious?

Contact with spores: Anthrax is not spread person to person! as we saw in 2001, spores that were sent thru the mail as a terrorist act can be inhaled & cause pulmonary anthrax. Short of this exposure, spores can be ingested on contaminated (uncooked) food and cause infection from the base of the tongue thru the GI tract. It can also cause a painless sore on the skin. See www.Bt.Cdc.Gov/agent/anthrax. ...Read more

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Who should be vaccinated against anthrax?

Military & lab work: People at risk for contracting anthrax should be immunized against it. Currently certain military personnel, people who work with anthrax in labs, people who work with imported animal hides or furs from areas of high levels of anthrax, and veterinarians working in areas (outside of usa) with high levels of anthrax. ...Read more

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What are the case fatality rates for the various forms of anthrax?

Depends on treatment: Cutaneous anthrax- 5-20% fatality if untreated; < 1% with antibiotics; inhalation anthrax-99% fatal if untreated; 45-80% fatal in pts with severe symptoms even if treated. ...Read more

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What is the treatment for anthrax?

Antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin/ levofloxacin/ doxicycline & penicillin are primary treatments for anthrax. Duration of rx depends on setting. See www.Bt.Cdc.Gov/agent/anthrax. ...Read more

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What are best lab tests for anthrax?

This is moot: Anthrax organisms grow on culture. However, a physician must suspect anthrax and treat, because it is likely to kill you -- especially the inhaled form -- before the lab result is back. ...Read more

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What are the types of anthrax infection?

What are the types of anthrax infection?

Skin, lungs and GI: Anthrax is an infection caused by bacillus anthracis that is usually spread by infected animals or animal products and can manifest itself in three ways.The majority present as skin infections with pustules. Next, inhalation anthrax is much more severe and presents with flu-like symptoms.The third is gastrointestinal anthrax and may present with severe abdominal pain and bloody vomit or diarrhea. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of anthrax poison?

Bacterial infection: Anthrax is a bacterial infection with three major types of manifestations, in order or severity, cutaneous, gastrointestinal and pulmonary. Pulmonary infection, once it becomes apparent as pneumonia is usually lethal. Gi type causes severe bloody diarrhea and skin forms presents as an ulcer with fever. ...Read more

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How can our immune system fight anthrax?

Vaccination: A vaccine for anthrax was available a while ago and was given to military personnel. For microbial diseases, vaccination is the best way to support the immune system to fight the infection. ...Read more

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How anthrax can cause respiratory attack?

Anthrax: The anthrax infection begins in the mediastinum and produces toxins which kill nearby cells. As more cells are infected and die, swelling and bleeding occur. Toxins spread throughout the body affecting organs and causing the organs to fail. When organs begin to fail, the disease has become fatal. ...Read more