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January 9,  2002

Anthrax Exposure May Cause Symptoms Not Falling Into Specific Category Of Disease


 (SafetyAlerts) - Physicians at Sinai Hospital and The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, both in Baltimore, have treated a patient who was exposed to anthrax spores, became ill, but tested negative for anthrax. The patient, an inspector for the U.S. Postal Service, evaluated and cleaned letter-sorting equipment that processed a letter containing anthrax spores. This case appears in the January 2002 issue of JAOA -- The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Prior to presenting with the symptoms, the patient had no previous medical problems. The patient's physicians conducted extensive testing and could not reach a valid explanation for the symptoms. The team of physicians caring for this patient prescribed antibiotic treatments for the individual on the basis of anthrax exposure. The treatment resolved the symptoms.

"The circumstances of this case lead to the possibility that a clinical entity of 'aborted anthrax infection' may exist," explains Tyler C. Cymet, D.O., a section head of family medicine at Sinai Hospital and an assistant professor of internal medicine at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "We recommend that when a patient presents with anthrax-like symptoms, but initial blood tests return negative, additional tests should be conducted to determine the cause of the symptoms.

Source: PRNewswire.

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