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FOR RELEASE: November 21, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Media Advisory:
Bioterrorism and Anthrax Issues

Bioterrorism and Anthrax Update 11/21/01:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed a case of inhalational anthrax in Connecticut. CDC was contacted by the Connecticut Department of Public Health about a respiratory illness in a 94-year-old female. Preliminary tests had indicated her illness to be anthrax. CDC conducted PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing on specimens from the woman and confirmed anthrax. In addition to confirming the anthrax case, CDC has sent a team to Connecticut to assist state health department officials. A total of 23 cases nationally have now met the CDC-case definition of anthrax, with 18 of those cases confirmed and 5 being followed as suspect cases.
  • As of noon today, the Public Health Laboratory of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) had performed testing on a total of 758 environmental samples for the presence of anthrax or biologic agents. All have tested negative for biologic contamination.
  • Due to the anxiety and heightened public concern about "flu-like" illnesses generated by recent bioterrorist events, the OSDH plans to implement a more active tracking program for influenza and other viruses that cause flu-like illness, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza virus, and adenovirus. From November 2001 to April 2002, the OSDH will be collecting laboratory results from viral cultures performed at the State Public Health Laboratory and collaborating hospital laboratories. Test results from rapid antigen detection kits received from various sources will also be summarized and reported on the OSDH Web site at:http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/imm/fluwatch/index.html.
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Health receives daily updates from the CDC and other government agencies regarding current issues in anthrax and other bioterrorism concerns. This information is posted on the Oklahoma State Department of Health's Web site at: http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/anthrax/anthrax.htm.

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