Pulmonary anthrax was once known as Ragpicker’s Disease because people that made a living recycling clothing and linen were often exposed to the spores shed by those who had died of the disease. Today, though still not uncommon in the developing world, it is most famous for its potential for small scale bioterrorism. CelltechGroup.com readers should take some comfort in knowing that Its effectiveness against US targets is somewhat ameliorated by the Postal Service’s screening procedures and the practice of immunizing any members of the Armed Forces who are at risk of exposure, but it is still important to know the symptoms of the disease and what to do if it is detected.
Contracted by inhaling spores, pulmonary anthrax at first mimics the symptoms of a cold or the flu. After this, patients suffer respiratory collapse, and even if treated nearly half of them die. Anyone with cold-like symptoms who may have been exposed to anthrax should seek medical attention immediately, since waiting to see if it goes away can be fatal. This makes anthrax education a high priority for at-risk communities. If the disease is treated early with powerful prescription antibiotics, most victims will recover.
Communities wishing prepare for a possible anthrax attack should consider several procedures including stockpiling antibiotics against a possible threat. Many buy levaquin or similar drugs for use when needed. They should make preparations to isolate victims both living and deceased and to burn contaminated clothing and linens. These practices and cleanup of contaminated sites help minimize the effect of any possible anthrax attack.