Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Army Doctors Work for Better Anthrax Tests

Army Doctors Work for Better Anthrax Tests

By Beau Whittington, Army News Service (*).

Washington D.C. – (ANS) December 3, 2001 -- A team of Walter Reed doctors just got the go ahead to test a protocol for anthrax. The protocol could provide better diagnostic tools for the deadly spore.

As American concerns over anthrax exposure grow, so does the realization of how little is known about timely diagnosing the disease.

Since the first spore-carrying letter was delivered to the American Media offices in Boca Raton, Fla. last month, nasal swabbing has become the gold standard for detecting exposure. Positive swabs show individuals have been exposed, and everyone in the area should be treated.

"Unfortunately people have gotten into their minds nasal swabbing is a test used to rule out anthrax," Lt. Col. Clifton Hawks said. Hawks is chief of Infectious Disease at Walter Reed and associate investigator for the study. "This has become a false reassurance." Nasal swabbing is a survey tool used to show people have been "exposed to, not infected with, anthrax," he stressed.

The research team will analyze what Walter Reed's Department of Medicine chief and chief investigator, Col. Bill Duncan, defines as a "unique military threat -- the possibility of anthrax attacks in the field."

Investigators will study subjects who become exposed to anthrax spores but have not developed infection symptoms. They will consider three different aspects of a potentially fatal infection.

First, they will compile information on people who undergo a creditable anthrax exposure. Investigators will follow the subjects for about 90 days, storing blood samples and DNA from the cells. As better infection testing becomes available, they will use these samples for further testing. Duncan said this will provide hard clinical information on how anthrax infections develop. While this will not immediately benefit patients, he describes it as a "potential big bang for future studies."

The second leg of the study will begin when doctors decide to treat patients with antibiotics. Study participants will receive one of the two drugs known to be beneficial in treating the disease -- ciprofloxin or doxycyline. Investigators will follow patients throughout their 60 days of medication, checking for compliance, side affects and any reasons for stopping treatment.

This will provide a carefully collected body of information about the medications. The study could also show one drug might be preferable to the other, and any risks the medications present.

While a few clinical studies provide some of this information, Duncan said the drugs have never been studied side-by-side.

The third part of the study involves using nuclear medicine to track infections. This area draws the most interest because it could drastically reduce diagnostic time frames, according to Duncan.

Under the protocol, investigators will attach radiological trackers to white blood cells, using a drug called LeuTech.

"White cells continually head for infection sites," explained Lt. Col. Robert Bridwell, assistant professor of radiology and nuclear medicine for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. "Through an injection, the medication hitchhikes a ride on the back of the white cells as they head for the infection, allowing us to more easily identify infected areas," added Bridwell, associate investigator for the study.

The procedure offers a non-specific identification of infections, he said, but he believes researchers can use anthrax's individual characteristics to offer early diagnoses.

Anthrax typically attacks the lymph nodes in the center of the chest. Recognizing the pattern distinguishes anthrax from other respiratory diseases. Previously, the disease was virtually fatal when it entered the lungs because, once lymph nodes became enlarged enough to diagnose, the infection is too advanced to treat. Bridwell believes early detection, coupled with new antibiotics, can greatly reduce mortality rates.

"You know what you see," Hawks explained about the limited knowledge on anthrax diagnosis and care. "Since we rarely see anthrax in this country, it's not on your radarscope all the time."

He referenced the first fatality in Florida. "[The patient] came with fever, muscle pain and was just feeling bad," Hawks said. "The symptoms were so non-specific [the patient] could have had any number of viral syndromes."

By the time diagnoses are made with current protocols, patients are near death. Keeping the disease on the radarscope and earlier diagnosis are the only way to protect soldiers and the American public from such terrorist attacks, Hawks said.

(*) Editor's note: Beau Whittington is the assistant editor for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Stripe newspaper.


Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin

Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).