ANTHRAX POISONING TREATMENTS

ANTHRAX POISONING TREATMENTS

Anthrax can be diagnosed in a number of ways depending upon the route of infection and how far the bacterium has spread within a person’s body. Bacterial cultures can be taken from throat and nasal swabs, and sputum samples. Additionally for inhalation anthrax poisoning chest x-rays, CT scans and spinal taps can be performed. Early detection and treatment of anthrax poisoning can be treated with as little as a 60 day course of antibiotic therapy. In cutaneous and gastrointestinal anthrax poisoning ciprofloxacin, penicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, or doxycycline are routinely prescribed.

As with any medication given there are possible side effects and conditions that may contradict the use of routine medications. These situations should be taken into account prior to administering the medicine, but often times the seriousness of a life-threatening illness such as anthrax will outweigh side effects that are not considered to be life-threatening. Ciprofloxacin and doxycycline are contradicted for use in children and pregnant women because of damage to tooth enamel and abnormalities in ligament and cartilage development. Intravenous medications are given at initial treatment and then can be switched to an oral dose for the remainder of treatment.

Chest x-rays diagnosing active inhalation anthrax infections depict mediastinal widening and pleural effusion. Symptoms of inhalation anthrax poisoning can take an extended period of time before presenting themselves only after the spores have germinated will they begin to release toxins. The toxins cause tissue death, sever edema and fluid buildup, and internal bleeding. There have proven to be no successful treatments for inhalation anthrax, once the infection has commenced it is terminal and only supportive hospital care to alleviate the symptoms can be provided. Treatment can include corticosteroids to treat edema, respiratory distress and meningitis.

The diagnosis of anthrax is a public health concern and will be reported to the proper public health officials. Usually surveillance and patient interview are conducted to isolate the mode of infection in order to eliminate the possibility of further infections. Post exposure to anthrax can have a seven day incubation period prior to a patient exhibiting any symptoms. Patients who are identified with having come in contact with anthrax will receive treatment prior to the development of any symptoms or positive bacterial culture. Steps must be taken to eliminate any possible anthrax spores from the clothing of infected individuals or materials that spores may have come in contact with. Clothing can be boiled for 30 minutes and surfaces may be wiped down with formaldehyde to destroy anthrax spores.