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Community-acquired pneumonia in the age of bio-terrorism

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The post September 11th anthrax attacks demonstrated just how vulnerable we are to biologic attack. In the first days of the attack, there was confusion and miscommunication. Patients presented to emergency rooms and to their primary care physicians with severe pneumonia. Days passed and a person died before the cause of pneumonia was recognized as Bacillus anthracis. In a biologic attack, the prompt recognition of the biologic agent is key to the outcome for both individual patients and potentially even our society. The three category A bacterial agents, anthrax, tularemia, and plague, can all present as a necrotizing pneumonia. If an attack occurred during flu season when there is already an increase in pneumonia, most physicians will initially have a great deal of difficulty determining that these cases are different. Yet, considering the nature of the world today every physician must be suspicious that the next pneumonia he or she sees could be the index case of anthrax, tularemia, or plague. The challenge for the clinician evaluating a patient presenting with the presumptive diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia is differentiating between the various possible etiologies that can cause this clinical picture. Each of these three class A agents has it own microbiologic and clinical characteristics. They are discussed here.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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