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Frequently asked questions about anthrax and smallpox.

Anthrax and smallpox – Frequently asked questions

Biological disease of category A: – The public health system of the United States. UU And primary health care providers must be prepared to address various biological agents, including pathogens that are rarely seen in the United States. High priority agents (Category A) include agencies that pose a risk to national security because:

it can be spread or transmitted easily from person to person; cause high mortality, with potential for significant impact on public health; it could cause public panic and social disturbance; and require special actions for public health preparation.

These agents / diseases include: Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Clostridium botulinum toxin (botulism), Yersinia pestis (plague), Variola major (smallpox), Francisella tularensis (tularemia) and viral hemorrhagic fever.

Q) What should I know about anthrax?

Anthrax. Our course of action to prevent anthrax after exposure in the civilian population would be with antibiotics. Vaccination is not recommended, and the vaccine is not available to health care providers or the general public. We do not recommend that doctors prescribe antibiotics for anthrax at this time. Currently we have enough antibiotics to prevent the disease in 2 million people exposed to anthrax, therefore, we can quickly administer preventive medicine to those who may be affected by this disease, which can not be transmitted between people.

Q) What should I know about smallpox?

Smallpox. Vaccination is not recommended, and the vaccine is not available to health providers or the public. In the absence of a confirmed case of smallpox anywhere in the world, there is no need to vaccinate against smallpox. There may also be serious side effects to the smallpox vaccine, which is another reason why we do not recommend vaccination. In the case of an outbreak, the CDC has clear guidelines to quickly provide the vaccine to people exposed to this disease. The vaccine is stored safely for use in the event of an outbreak.

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Q) What should I do to be prepared?

Preparation. We continue to hear stories from the public buying gas masks and accumulating drugs in anticipation of a possible chemical attack with a bioterrorist. We do not recommend either. As Secretary Thompson said recently, people should not be scared and think they need a gas mask. In the event of a public health emergency, local and state health departments will inform the public about the actions that individuals must take.


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