The workup of a febrile patient who presents with an influenzalike illness in the setting of a national or regional anthrax outbreak presents a unique challenge to the physicians who initially evaluate this patient, and the diagnostic challenge can be even more profound during the influenza season. Based on information gathered from the recent inhalational anthrax cases, we have developed an algorithm to be used by physicians in the emergency department to evaluate patients with influenzalike illnesses during a national or regional anthrax outbreak. The algorithm necessitates stays no longer than 24 hours in the emergency department or hospital.
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Workup for a febrile patient with an influenzalike illness during an anthrax outbreak. ABGTs indicates arterial blood gas tests; CBCD, complete blood cell and differential counts; CR, chest radiograph; CSF, cerebrospinal fluid; CT, computed tomographic; GS, gram stain; IA, inhalational anthrax; IV, intravenous; LFTs, liver function tests; and RSV, respiratory syncytial virus.
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