>Baker City Herald | Baker County Oregon's News Leader

Baker news NE Oregon Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Follow BakerCityHerald.com

Baker City Herald print edition

view all Baker City Herald print publications »

The Baker City Herald is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Current subscribers have full access to the E-edition.

View Paper

If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access.


Recent article comments

Powered by Disqus

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Medical director answers anthrax fears


Medical director answers anthrax fears

Dr. Steve Delashmutt, medical director at St. Elizabeth Health Services ().
Dr. Steve Delashmutt, medical director at St. Elizabeth Health Services ().


Of the Baker City Herald

The medical director at St. Elizabeth Health Services says there is "practically no concern" that an anthrax attack will occur in Northeastern Oregon.

Id be so greatly surprised if someone in Baker County popped up with anthrax, said Dr. Steve Delashmutt. The risk for us here is next to zero, practically speaking. Were not going to see it. It just wouldnt make sense.

But nonetheless, Delashmutt like millions of other Americans has been scanning the online literature to be ready for the unthinkable.

Delashmutt lugged an impressive sheaf of papers into a press conference at the hospital late Tuesday afternoon. Included were health advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and articles from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Like Delashmutts demeanor, the articles urge health officials not to panic in the face of anthrax and other biological agent threats.

Anthrax is common, Delashmutt said. If you go digging in the dirt out here, youll find it. Its a common bug in sheep, cattle and goats.

That form, cutaneous anthrax, is usually treated with penicillin, he said.

An aggressive infection, it can remain in the human body three or four weeks.

We see that only occasionally, maybe one or two cases a year, he said.

A patient exposed to pulmonary anthrax the strain that must be inhaled, and is potentially deadly would at first exhibit only the symptoms of a cold, Delashmutt said. Those symptoms include a cough and a general feeling of malaise.

The physician would then have to determine whether theres a credible threat that the person was exposed to anthrax. If the threat is real, he said, then the antibiotic Cipro would be prescribed.

If not, the patient would be sent on his or her way.

Since the incubation period for anthrax is between three and 45 days, theres plenty of time to begin treatment, he said.

A credible threat could include exposure to a suspicious package or letter, or exposure to airborne anthrax. That latter possibility, Delashmutt said, is extremely remote, especially in sparsely populated regions of the country.

The CDC said that for anthrax to be effective as a covert agent, it must be made into an aerosol in very fine particles.

This is difficult to do, and requires a great deal of technical skill and special equipment, a CDC advisory said. If these small particles are inhaled, life-threatening lung infection can occur, but prompt recognition and treatment are effective.

If airborne anthrax is detected, Delashmutt said, teams from the CDC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation would arrive overnight. The CDC, he said, has begun stockpiling antibiotics, although the local hospital has not.

Delashmutt said that clear, concise information about anthrax is available on the CDC website, www.bt.cdc.gov, or on the JAMA site, www.jama.ama-assn.org.

Without knowledge, people tend to put 2 and 2 together and get 16, he said. They go a little overboard with their assessments.


blog comments powered by Disqus
Local / Sports / Business / State / National / Obituaries / Submit News
Editorials / Letters / Columns / Submit a letter
Outdoors / Go Magazine / Milestones / Living Well
Baker Herald
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Privacy Policy / Commenting Policy / Site Map
Also Online
Photo Reprints / Videos / Local Business Links / Community Links / Weather and Road Cams / RSS Feed

Follow Baker City Herald headlines on Follow Baker City Herald headlines on Twitter

© Copyright 2001 - 2016 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use