What is Anthrax and how is it transmitted? Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming “bacterium bacillus.” Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores), but can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or when spores are used as a bioterrorist weapon. There are three forms of Anthrax. One form of Anthrax is gastrointestinal anthrax, which usually occurs after the consumption of contaminated meat that has been infected with the anthrax bacterium. Another form of anthrax is cutaneous anthrax. This type of anthrax occurs when the bacterium enters a cut or abrasion on the skin. The third form of anthrax, known to be the most fatal one of all, is inhalation anthrax, which occurs when the bacterium is inhaled. In an article in McWhorter, the author states, “Inhaled anthrax can be deadly even with treatment. When a person inhales anthrax spores, the bacteria tend to spread quickly. When infection from inhaled anthrax happens, it is almost always fatal.” All three forms of anthrax will result in death if not treated promptly. How would someone know if he or she has been infected with anthrax? Symptoms of anthrax usually occur one to six days after exposure and varying on how the disease was contracted. When anthrax occurs in humans, its initial symptoms are usually flu-like symptoms, which include fevers, coughs, and chest pains.
Now that this deadly disease, called anthrax, is defined, what should the government do to help prevent this disease and how should the government provide safety to all Philadelphians? To help answer this question, President Bush decided to appoint Dr. Austin, a specialist in public health and safety issues and an expert in biological weapons, to be Director of All Health and Safety Issues. On a September morning around 10 AM, Dr. Austin arrived for his annual inspection. While he was touring the facility, he noticed a white powder with the consistency of anthrax coming from air ducts near the elevators on the first floor. He knows that he must act intelligently and decisively. What should he do to best protect all the people inside the building and on the grounds as well as the people of Philadelphia from anthrax poisoning? To protect the people from anthrax poisoning, Dr. Austin should immediately come up with an action plan for all the people in the building as well as all Philadelphians. His immediate action plan should include the following: Dr. Austin should immediately notify the President and other officials to get any assistance. He should then provide a prompt safety plan for all the people in the building as well as all Philadelphians. In the final part of Dr. Austin’s action plan, he ought to put all people’s mental and physical conditions at ease.
In the case of noticing the consistency of anthrax coming through air ducts, Dr. Austin should immediately report to President Bush. Bush will then be able send out prompt notifications to all other officials. Notifying the appropriate authorities will swiftly enable further assistance to protect all the people from anthrax poisoning. This includes notification of the Philadelphia Police and the F.B.I, the HAZMAT team (Cambridge Fire Department Hazardous Materials), the World Health Organization (WHO), Action News, and all other significant authorities.
While waiting for all appropriate officials to take precise actions, Dr. Austin should provide a prompt safety plan for all the people in the building as well as all the people of Philadelphia. He should make sure that all of the air ducts inside the building are closed or sealed to prevent the spread of anthrax. Dr. Austin should then make sure that every individual person washes his or her hands thoroughly and tell everybody to take off any clothes that might be exposed to the bacterium. Once the appropriate officials arrive, Dr. Austin should provide tests to make sure no one has been infected with the bacterium. This includes the new device called, the mini DNA Analyzer, which detects deoxyribonucleic acid in harmful bacteria, described in an article in McWhorter, which states, “Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories in Livermore recently developed a portable device that can quickly identify harmful organisms in the air.” This device would be helpful to all the people in the building and will detect if any person has been infected with the bacteria or if the bacteria is even present at all. Dr. Austin should also have vaccinations and other tests available for the safety of all the people.
Finally, Dr. Austin should make sure that every individual is at ease, physically and mentally. He should make sure that anyone that has been infected with anthrax should get immediate treatment or immediate ambulatory assistance to prevent any severe symptoms to occur. People that are found infected with anthrax should be sent to the nearest hospital’s emergency department. To encourage mental ease, Dr. Austin should provide the people with psychological treatment. This mental ease should be dealt with using calm words, stressing out loud that everyone is going to be safe. Encouraging mental and physical ease will prevent any panic attack to occur.
There are so many important decisions to make when dealing with a biological disaster, such as Anthrax. Therefore, the government should come up with a preparedness program to prevent the disease and the spread of the disease if it were to become an epidemic in Philadelphia. If the government were to come up with preparedness program, all people of Philadelphia would be prepared for this biological and fatal disaster.