BMH prepared for anthrax cases

Although nationwide re-ports of anthrax exposure have increased, Ball Memorial Hospital said Tuesday that they have yet to diagnose anyone with the disease.

However, the hospital has checked some people who thought they may have been exposed to anthrax, said Ball Memorial's Administrative Director of Emergency Depart-ment Karla Kirby. Although just a few were worried, she said the hospital did not check everyone.

"We made decisions based on what people told us and their concerns," Kirby said. "We had some people who were very, very anxious."

None of the patients exhibited physical symptoms of anthrax, Kirby said, but if people felt they had been exposed to it, they were given a culture.

A culture is a collection of organisms from a possible infected area. The culture is grown in a laboratory to find out if infection exists.

Kirby said organisms were collected from the nose. All cultures were negative, she said.

Kirbus said the number of concerned people going to the hospital has decreased in recent weeks.

"I don't think this is as big an issue as it was four weeks ago," she said.

If an outbreak of anthrax would occur, Kirby said Ball Memorial is prepared. However, she said if an epidemic of any kind happened, the hospital would want to investigate.

"It doesn't really matter what it is," Kirby said. "If a bunch of people come in with the exact same symptoms, we would want to find out what's causing it."

The hospital has also slightly increased the amount of Cipro-floxacin, which treats anthrax, said Commun-ications Specialist for Cardinal Health Systems Neil Gifford.

Gifford said the hospital's pharmacy increased the amount of the drug to comfort those worried about the disease.


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