Being Prepared: Bioterrorism and Mass Prophylaxis Part II


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Abstract

Although several biological agents have been recognized as presenting a significant threat to public health if used in a bioterrorist attack, those that are of greatest importance are known as the Category A agents: Bacillus anthracis (anthrax); variola major (smallpox); Yersinia pestis (plague); Francisella tularensis (tularemia); ribonucleic acid viruses (hemorrhagic fevers); and Clostridium botulinum (botulism toxin). In the previous issue, Part I of this review focused on the clinical presentation and treatment of anthrax, plague, and tularemia. In this second part of this 2-part review of these agents, the focus is on the clinical presentation and treatment of smallpox, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and botulism toxin. The utilization of mass prophylaxis to limit the morbidity and mortality associated with all these agents is also discussed along with the role emergency care personnel play in its implementation.

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