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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommend anthrax vaccination for the following groups:
|Persons who work directly with the organism in the laboratory ||Persons who work with imported animal hides or furs in areas where standards are insufficient to prevent exposure to anthrax spores.||Persons who handle potentially infected animal products in high-incidence areas. (Incidence is low in the United States, but veterinarians who travel to work in other countries where incidence is higher should consider being vaccinated.)||Military personnel deployed to areas with high risk for exposure to the organism (as when it is used as a biological warfare weapon).|
The anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program in the U.S. Army Surgeon General's Office can be reached at 1-877-GETVACC (1-877-438-8222). http://www.anthrax.osd.mil
Pregnant women should be vaccinated only if absolutely necessary.
What is the protocol for anthrax vaccination?
The immunization consists of three subcutaneous injections given 2 weeks apart followed by three additional subcutaneous injections given at 6, 12, and 18 months. Annual booster injections of the vaccine are recommended thereafter.
Are there adverse reactions to the anthrax vaccine?
Mild local reactions occur in 30% of recipients and consist of slight tenderness and redness at the injection site. Severe local reactions are infrequent and consist of extensive swelling of the forearm in addition to the local reaction. Systemic reactions occur in fewer than 0.2% of recipients.
How is anthrax diagnosed?
Anthrax is diagnosed by isolating B. anthracis from the blood, skin lesions, or respiratory secretions or by measuring specific antibodies in the blood of persons with suspected cases.
Is there a treatment for anthrax?
Doctors can prescribe effective antibiotics. To be effective, treatment should be initiated early. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.
Where can I get more information about the recent Department of Defense decision to require men and women in
the Armed Services to be vaccinated against anthrax?
The Department of Defense recommends that servicemen and women contact their chain of command on questions about the vaccine and its distribution. The anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program in the U.S. Army Surgeon General's Office can be reached at 1-877-GETVACC (1-877-438-8222). http://www.anthrax.osd.mil
Q: Is there an approved treatment for anthrax?
A: Yes. Three types of antiobiotics are approved for anthrax: ciprofloxacin, tetracyclines (including doxycycline), and penicillins. For people who have been exposed to anthrax but do not have symptoms, 60 days of one of these antibiotics is given to reduce the risk or progression of disease due to inhaled anthrax.
Q: Does the government have a plan in place to make Cipro available if there were mass exposure to anthrax?
A: Yes. Under emergency plans, the Federal government would ship appropriate antibiotics from its stockpile to wherever they are needed.
Q: Should individual consumers ask their physicians to write a prescription for Cipro, so they have it on hand in case it's needed?
A: No. Any needed antibiotics from the current stockpile will be made available if they are needed. In the meantime, Cipro should not be prescribed unless there is a clearly indicated need, so that the drug will be available as the need arises for the standard infections for which it is used.
Q: What is FDA telling physicians and other health professionals about prescriptions for Cipro?
A: Although FDA does not regulate the practice of medicine, the agency is strongly recommending that physicians not prescribe Cipro for individual patients to have on hand for possible use against inhaled anthrax. In addition to the potential influence on supply of the drug, indiscriminate prescribing and widespread use of Cipro could hasten the development of drug-resistant organisms