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CDC Update: Anthrax vaccine use, current case count, transcript online, Florida investigation, and Halloween safety

Last updated March 15, 2020

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

CDC has decided to recommend anthrax vaccine to persons who are repeatedly at risk of exposure to bacillus anthracis. This would include the 800 laboratory workers in the Laboratory Response Network who are involved in testing samples, and the workers who decontaminate sites where the organism has been identified. CDC is working very closely with appropriate government agencies to acquire the vaccine. An Department of Health and Human Services committee is considering other groups for whom the vaccine would be appropriate.


CDC Update: Anthrax vaccine use, current case count, transcript online, Florida investigation, and Halloween safety

Anthrax Vaccine

CDC has decided to recommend anthrax vaccine to persons who are repeatedly at risk of exposure to bacillus anthracis. This would include the 800 laboratory workers in the Laboratory Response Network who are involved in testing samples, and the workers who decontaminate sites where the organism has been identified. CDC is working very closely with appropriate government agencies to acquire the vaccine. An Department of Health and Human Services committee is considering other groups for whom the vaccine would be appropriate.

CDC confirmed cases of anthrax

Based on a rigorous case definition, CDC is reporting 12 confirmed cases of anthrax: 2 in Florida, 3 in New York City, 2 in New Jersey, and 5 in Washington, D.C. (in collaboration with MD and VA). CDC is also reporting 6 suspect cases: 3 in New York City and 3 in New Jersey.

CDC defines a confirmed case of anthrax as 1) a clinically compatible case of cutaneous, inhalational, or gastrointestinal illness that is laboratory confirmed by isolation of B. anthracis from an affected tissue or site or 2) other laboratory evidence of B. anthracis infection based on at least two supportive laboratory tests.

Transcript Available

The transcript for the October 26, 2001, anthrax telebriefing is now available online at www.cdc.gov/media/transcripts/t011026.htm.

Update: Florida Investigation

Further results of the blood sampling of AMI employees have now been forwarded to the Florida Department of Health from CDC. Because the lab results remain difficult to interpret, public health officials will continue to use the following definition to establish potential exposure: an individual is considered exposed if that person spent more than 1 hour in the AMI building in Boca Raton from August 1, 2001 to October 7, 2001, or from finding anthrax spores by nasal swab. Actual anthrax disease is confirmed through clinical and laboratory diagnosis as in the cases of the two males employed by AMI.

Halloween Safety

Parents should follow the same precautions this Halloween as in past years. The spotlight on Choking Episodes Among Children is online at www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/spotlite/choking.htm.

For the latest update on CDC activities and on-going anthrax investigations visit www.bt.cdc.gov/ or www.cdc.gov/media/.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: March 15, 2020
Last updated: March 15, 2020