Inhalation anthrax case in Pennsylvania
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Inhalation anthrax case in Pennsylvania

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      Wednesday, February 22, 2006, 15:58 EST (03:58 PM EST)


      On February 16, a 44 year old male presented to a hospital in Pennsylvania with respiratory symptoms including dry cough, shortness of breath and general malaise. Laboratory Response Network (LRN) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) on 2/21 and gamma phage lysis on 2/22 from blood culture isolate were positive for Bacillus anthracis.

      Patient resides in New York City and makes drums from unprocessed domestic and imported (Africa) animal hides (cow and goat). Patient reports frequent travel to Africa (most recent travel 12/4/05 - 12/21/05). Patient reports last work with animal hides on 2/15. Process includes cleaning and removal of hair from hides without chemical fixatives. While traveling to Pennsylvania on 2/16, the patient collapsed with rigors and was transported and admitted to a small local hospital.

      Patient transferred to a tertiary care center on 2/18. Patient is reported to be stable on antibiotic therapy in the ICU without mechanical ventilation. No signs of cutaneous or pharyngeal anthrax lesions. Preliminary clinical impression suggests anthrax sepsis secondary to inhalation route of exposure due to spores from contaminated animal hides.

      Ongoing investigation by PA and NYC departments of health in coordination with law enforcement includes environmental assessment of patient's storage/work facility and home, and identification of individuals who may have had contact with unprocessed hides.

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