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Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
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(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394

November 9, 2001/6:00 PM, EST
Contact: CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Press Release

Update: Telebriefing cancellation, Transcript and audio clip, EID Journal article, Current case count

Telebriefing Cancellation

Due to the Veteran's Day Holiday there will be no CDC update about Anthrax. The CDC Press Office will be open. Investigations teleconference on Monday, November 12, 2001 at Noon. The daily teleconference update will resume on Tuesday, November 13, 2001 at 12 Noon -12:45 PM EST, by toll-free conference line: Dial 866-254-5942. Teleconference name: CDC/anthrax. This teleconference will also be audio webcast. Listen LIVE each day online at

Telebriefing transcript and audio clip

The transcript from today's telebriefing with Dr. Bradley Perkins. Today’s briefing was also webcast and the audio clip is also available online. Both transcript and audio clip are accessible from

Recent U.S. inhalational anthrax cases related to bioterrorism had a higher survival rate than previously expected

The first 10 cases of inhalational anthrax related to bioterrorism share similarities with previously reported inhalational anthrax cases, but also have some important differences according to an upcoming article in CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. The article summarizes each of the 10 cases and notes that the survival rate among this group was higher than previously expected.

Prior to October 2001, the last case of inhalational anthrax in the United States occurred in 1976. Between October 4 and November 2, 2001, CDC and state and local health officials confirmed 10 cases of inhalational anthrax. Of these 10 patients, 70 percent were male and the average age was 56 years. Four of these case-patients died.

Previous studies indicated a survival rate of less than 15 percent for persons with inhalational anthrax. The survival rate for this group was 60 percent. The combination of antibiotic therapy begun during the initial phase of the illness, and aggressive supportive care may have markedly improved the survival rate for some of these patients.

All, but one case-patient in this investigation, were postal workers, mail handlers/sorters or a journalist who were known to or believed to have processed, handled or received letters containing Bacillus anthracis spores.

Although the clinical presentation of these 10 patients varied and resembled a viral respiratory illness, the interpretation of the initial symptoms in the context of a possible exposure to B. anthracis often led to an early diagnosis and treatment.

The full article can be accessed online at

CDC confirmed cases of anthrax

Summary of Local, State, and Federal Confirmed Human Cases and Exposures

Case Status Florida New York City New Jersey Washington, DC Total
Confirmed 2 5 5 5 17
    Cutaneous 0 4 3 0  
    Inhalational 2 1 2 5  
Suspect 0 3 2 0 5
    Cutaneous 0 3 2 0  
    Inhalational 0 0 0 0  
Total Cases         22

There have been 4 deaths associated with inhalational anthrax.

CDC confirmed cases are based on a rigorous case definition, which was published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on October 19, 2001. The MMWR is available on-line at:

CDC defines a confirmed case of anthrax as 1) a clinically compatible case of cutaneous, inhalational, or gastrointestinal illness that is laboratory confirmed by isolation of B. anthracis from an affected tissue or site or 2) other laboratory evidence of B. anthracis infection based on at least two supportive laboratory tests. CDC defines a suspect case as 1) a clinically compatible case of illness without isolation of B. anthracis and no alternative diagnosis, but with laboratory evidence of B. anthracis by one supportive laboratory test or 2) a clinically compatible case of anthrax epidemiologically linked to a confirmed environmental exposure, but without corroborative laboratory evidence of B. anthracis infection.

For the latest update on CDC activities and on-going anthrax investigations visit or


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