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Journal Article


Forrester MB, Stanley SK. Vet. Hum. Toxico. 2003; 45(5): 247-248.


Texas Department of Health, 11 W 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756, USA.


(Copyright © 2003, American College of Veterinary Toxicologists)






Between October 4, 2001 and November 20, 2001, 22 cases of anthrax were identified in a bioterrorism attack on the US. This study examined the patterns of anthrax calls before and after the bioterrorist attack based on calls received by poison centers in Texas, a state that reported no anthrax cases as a result of the attack. During 1998-2002, 553 calls about anthrax were received. The majority of the anthrax calls occurred in 2001 (n = 489, 88.4%) and 2002 (n = 52, 9.4%). The number of calls increased greatly in the days after October 4, 2001, reaching a peak of 31 anthrax calls in 1 d and then declining sharply in succeeding months. However, by December 2002 the number of calls about anthrax still had not returned to pre-attack levels. This study demonstrated the value of poison centers in documenting public need for information on biological agents used in a terrorist attack, even if the attack did not occur in the area serviced by the poison center. Poison centers may expect to receive calls regarding a bioterrorist attack shortly after the public became aware of the attack and will continue to receive related calls for months afterward. Poison centers need to be prepared with appropriate information prior to such attacks to provide to the public upon request.

Language: en


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