To review and update consensus-based recommendations for medical and
public health professionals following a Bacillus anthracis attack against a civilian population.
The working group included 23 experts from academic medical centers,
research organizations, and governmental, military, public health, and emergency
management institutions and agencies.
MEDLINE databases were searched from January 1966 to January 2002, using
the Medical Subject Headings anthrax, Bacillus anthracis, biological weapon, biological terrorism, biological warfare, and biowarfare. Reference review identified
work published before 1966. Participants identified unpublished sources.
The first draft synthesized the gathered information. Written comments
were incorporated into subsequent drafts. The final statement incorporated
all relevant evidence from the search along with consensus recommendations.
Specific recommendations include diagnosis of anthrax infection, indications
for vaccination, therapy, postexposure prophylaxis, decontamination of the
environment, and suggested research. This revised consensus statement presents
new information based on the analysis of the anthrax attacks of 2001, including
developments in the investigation of the anthrax attacks of 2001; important
symptoms, signs, and laboratory studies; new diagnostic clues that may help
future recognition of this disease; current anthrax vaccine information; updated
antibiotic therapeutic considerations; and judgments about environmental surveillance