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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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B-CS able to handle anthrax

Brazos County is prepared to handle any outbreak of anthrax infections, public health officials said.
Tim Ottinger, a spokesperson for St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan, said although the hospital is not equipped to conduct any anthrax testing, it is prepared to treat anthrax cases with antibiotics.
“We have a significant supply of CIPRO on hand, but even if we should run out, we can have it at our facility within hours,” Ottinger said. “Any kind of testing or vaccinations would have to come down through the state or county health departments.”
DeMerle Giordano, the Brazos County emergency coordinator, advised residents to be wary of suspicious looking mail and packages.
“We also have the Center for Disease Control as a backup since it is a national pharmaceutical stockpile,” she said. “In the meantime, everyone needs to view anything even slightly suspicious with an air of caution.”
Giordano said her office has responded to several calls about suspicious mail following a spate of anthrax infections and exposure in Washington, D.C., New York and Florida.
“We would have generally taken many pieces of junk mail for granted, but now if a customer calls to report something suspicious, then we will go out and respond,” Giordano said.
According to the Texas Department of Health, anthrax is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. It occurs naturally in certain species of animals in the southwestern part of Texas, and many different types of animals, as well as people, can get the disease.
Symptoms of anthrax in humans vary, depending on how the disease was contracted but usually occur within seven days after exposure. The three forms of human anthrax are inhalation anthrax (caused when the spores are inhaled into the lungs), cutaneous anthrax (caused when broken skin comes into contact with infected animals or hides) and intestinal anthrax (caused when undercooked meat from an infected animal is eaten)
Each of the different forms of anthrax constitute different symptoms. The following guidelines also are from the Texas Department of Health:
-Initial symptoms of inhalation anthrax infection may resemble a common cold. After several days, the symptoms may progress to severe breathing problems and shock.
-The intestinal form is characterized by an acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood and severe diarrhea.
-The cutaneous form of the disease begins with itching at the site of the exposure, followed by the formation of a round, pimple-like sore. This sore will then form a blister which, after two to six days will become a hard, black scab.

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