Update: Investigation of bioterrorism-related anthrax and adverse events from antimicrobial prophylaxis

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2001 Nov 9;50(44):973-6.


CDC and state and local public health authorities continue to investigate cases of bioterrorism-related anthrax. As of November 7, a total of 22 cases of anthrax have been identified according to the CDC surveillance case definition; 10 were confirmed inhalational anthrax cases and 12 cases (seven confirmed and five suspected) were cutaneous anthrax (Table 1). The majority of cases have occurred in persons working at postal facilities in New Jersey (NJ) and the District of Columbia (DC) in which letters contaminated with anthrax were handled or processed using high-speed sorting machines, or at media companies in New York City (NYC) or Florida (FL) where letters, either confirmed or presumed to be contaminated with anthrax, were opened or handled. The probable exposures for a case of cutaneous anthrax in NJ and a case of inhalational anthrax in NYC remain unknown. Epidemiologic investigations of these cases and surveillance to detect new cases of bioterrorism-associated anthrax continue. This report updates the investigation of these cases and describes adverse events associated with antimicrobial prophylaxis.

MeSH terms

  • Anthrax* / diagnosis
  • Anthrax* / drug therapy
  • Anthrax* / epidemiology
  • Anthrax* / prevention & control
  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / adverse effects
  • Bacillus anthracis*
  • Bioterrorism*
  • Ciprofloxacin / adverse effects*
  • Ciprofloxacin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Mass Media
  • Occupational Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Occupational Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Postal Service
  • Public Health Practice
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / prevention & control
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial* / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial* / drug therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial* / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases, Bacterial* / prevention & control
  • Spores, Bacterial*
  • Treatment Refusal
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Ciprofloxacin