Andrew W. Artenstein, MD; Marguerite A. Neill, MD; Steven M. Opal, MD
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Artenstein AW, Neill MA, Opal SM. Bioterrorism and Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2002;137:626. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-137-7-200210010-00031
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;137(7):626.
TO THE EDITOR:
During October and November 2001, the intentional transmission of anthrax to persons in the United States riveted public attention on the use of biological agents as weapons (1). To date, these incidents have been limited to a few geographic areas and have involved only anthrax (2). However, the threat persists of additional attacks on a larger scale and with different agents. Bioterrorism differs from other forms of terrorism in that casualties are geographically and temporally dispersed based on the clinical incubation ranges of the agents used. In addition, health care providers, not law enforcement, public safety, or emergency personnel, are the first responders. Therefore, physicians must acquire knowledge of specific biological threats that will enable them to effectively diagnose and manage patients in their care and control the spread of infection. This is a complex undertaking. Many of these infections initially present with nonspecific illnesses, making early diagnosis difficult, and many physicians are unfamiliar with the clinical presentations. In addition, because these agents are manipulated in laboratories, their clinical presentation may not match that described in the extant literature.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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