Fox News Station Says
Anthrax Is A Virus

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Just sent off an email to Fox 28 news regarding a report it aired describing Anthrax as a virus.
I don't understand how the station could let the report go on like that. Doesn't anyone at the station know the difference between a bacteria and virus?
Amazing. Here's the story...
Health officials say they think they know how a 94-year-old woman caught a deadly case of anthrax.
They say the Connecticut woman may have been infected with the virus when she tore up her junk mail. Health officials say the woman ripped the tainted envelope in half before throwing it away.
Spores probably broke off from the letter and were inhaled.
Investigators say some of the bulk mail that went to the woman's town passed through the same Trenton, New Jersey post office that handled two anthrax-tainted letters.
My email to the Fox station:
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Please note that Anthrax is NOT a VIRUS - it is a spore producing bacteria.
Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores), but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from infected animals.
I shuddered when I heard a representative of Homeland Security call Anthrax a virus several years ago. It surely made me wonder where George Bush found Homeland Security officials. I assume that politics is the prime influence when hiring these people, not their medical or academic background. I would surely hate to have a chem/bio/nuclear event in the US and have someone in charge who believes Anthrax is a Virus.
We are woefully unprepared to handle such events. The US cannot even manage getting flu vaccine to the public during perceived vaccine shortage. Our hospital ERs cannot manage patients during a heavy flu season.
I suggest that you inform your writers about the difference between a spore-producing bacteria and a virus.
Do not confuse Foot and Mouth Disease (a virus) with Anthrax. Foot and Mouth Disease is incorrectly called hoof and mouth disease. Some people do confuse Foot and Moth Disease and think it is Anthrax.
Anthrax is not contagious. In other words it is not spread person-to-person.
Cutaneous: Most (about 95%) anthrax infections occur when the bacterium enters a cut or abrasion on the skin, such as when handling contaminated wool, hides, leather or hair products (especially goat hair) of infected animals. Skin infection begins as a raised itchy bump that resembles an insect bite but within 1-2 days develops into a vesicle and then a painless ulcer, usually 1-3 cm in diameter, with a characteristic black necrotic (dying) area in the center. Lymph glands in the adjacent area may swell. About 20% of untreated cases of cutaneous anthrax will result in death. Deaths are rare with appropriate antimicrobial therapy.
Inhalation: Initial symptoms may resemble a common cold. After several days, the symptoms may progress to severe breathing problems and shock. Inhalation anthrax is usually fatal.
Intestinal: The intestinal disease form of anthrax may follow the consumption of contaminated meat and is characterized by an acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, and severe diarrhea. Intestinal anthrax results in death in 25% to 60% of cases.
As for the theory that the 94 year old woman tore the envelope in half which then caused her infection with Anthrax: If the envelope was infected with anthrax tearing the envelope would be futile in exposing her to the bacteria. In other words, if the envelope was infected simply handling it would be risky.
It was my understanding that initial news reports checked the woman's mail for anthrax and found no anthrax which was the reason her infection remained a mystery.
In any event, I do hope the information provided helps.
Patricia Doyle



This Site Served by TheHostPros