CDC provides wealth of Anthrax information in PDF
Government health agency at the forefront of bioterrorism detection, treatment
16 October 2001
By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor
Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., and particularly since the first reported case of Anthrax exposure, many U.S. government agencies have been working on high-alert status. Moreso than ever, some of the decisions they are now making -- or not -- literally could have life-or-death implications for American citizens.
One of the agencies thrust into a high-profile, mission-critical role is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based in Atlanta. According to its own mission statement, the agency -- part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) -- is charged with "promoting health and quality of life and preventing disease, injury, and disability."
In terms of counteracting bioterrorism, the CDC's self-described responsibility is "to provide national leadership in the public health and medical communities in a concerted effort to detect, diagnose, respond to, and prevent illnesses, including those that could occur as a result of bioterrorism or any other deliberate attempt to harm the health of our citizens."
A recent New York Times article "C.D.C. Team Tackles Anthrax" details the agency's urgent call to action -- including a few short-term glitches -- in response to the current incidents of and continuing concerns about bioterrorism in the United States.
According to the Times, the CDC's primary efforts are two-fold:
- "detecting any communicable agent that might have
been released. .... the information is crucial in assessing the
potential harm to other people."
- "informing the public of the Anthrax cases, the
steps the C.D.C. is taking to combat the threat to public health, and
what people can do"
The CDC is one of numerous government agencies that makes significant use of PDF, as was featured in "Governments cut red tape with PDF," published a couple years ago on Adobe's Web site. Through its close cooperation with other national and international health organizations and governments, the CDC plays a vital role in prevention, diagnosis and treatment worldwide. Accordingly, the CDC Web site and several related sub-sites, offer a wealth of information related to the Anthrax bacteria, much of it available in print-ready PDF.
Anthrax: The Basics
-- "Facts about Anthrax," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
- Anthrax most commonly occurs in hoofed mammals and can also infect humans.
- Symptoms of disease vary depending on how the disease was contracted, but usually occur
within 7 days after exposure. The serious forms of human anthrax are inhalation anthrax,
cutaneous anthrax, and intestinal anthrax.
- Initial symptoms of inhalation anthrax infection may resemble a common cold. After several
days, the symptoms may progress to severe breathing problems and shock. Inhalation anthrax is
- The intestinal disease form of anthrax may follow the consumption of contaminated food and is
characterized by an acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of
appetite, vomiting, and fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, and severe
- Direct person-to-person spread of anthrax is extremely unlikely, if it occurs at all. Therefore,
there is no need to immunize or treat contacts of persons ill with anthrax, such as household
contacts, friends, or coworkers, unless they also were also exposed to the same source of
- In persons exposed to anthrax, infection can be prevented with antibiotic treatment.
Early antibiotic treatment of anthrax is essential-delay lessens chances for survival. Anthrax
usually is susceptible to penicillin, doxycycline, and fluoroquinolones.
- An anthrax vaccine also can prevent infection. Vaccination against anthrax is not recommended
for the general public to prevent disease and is not available.
CDC's Anthrax information in PDF