Anthrax case in Florida poses many questions.
October 6, 2001 10:40 PM   Subscribe

Anthrax case in Florida poses many questions. Widely represented by our nations media as a natural occurrance, the fact is Anthrax deaths are extremely rare through contact with animals. A friend who is knowledgeable about anthrax is sure this is military grade anthrax. Certainly, Stevens was an elderly man, but put this with - "Atta and other Middle Eastern men are believed to have visited an airfield in Belle Glade, about 40 miles from Lantana", and you get a pretty good story. Anthrax can take up to seven weeks to begin it's nasty death process, will more cases come to light, or will the CDC whisk them away? Paranoia, maybe, but still a cause for vaccinations just to be completely safe. I'm sure our government won't want to "startle" anyone by initiating vaccinations, but we could easily reduce the (legitimate) threat of the BIG THREE (Smallpox, the Plague and Anthrax) to nearly zero. Our leaders all have access to gas masks and are most likely being given the shots as we speak. What happens to the rest of us?
posted by a_green_man (20 comments total)
Hell, they don't even have enough of a supply of normal flu vaccine for this winter. They were innoculatting the military for anthrax, but supposedly ran out of the supply. And HH&S Director Tommy Thompson says that if the government starts now, we'll have an adaquate supply of smallpox vaccine sometime next year.

What happens to the rest of us, you ask? Well pal, just put your head between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye.
posted by crunchland at 11:38 PM on October 6, 2001

Why can't they make a biological weapon that will cause increase of serotonin levels in the affected?

That'd take care of a lot of the problems...
posted by fooljay at 12:59 AM on October 7, 2001

If I were the CDC, I'd want to know if he'd been anywhere near Gerlach, Nevada recently. There was an anthrax outbreak there in Aug last year. Check veterinary sites like this one for some common sense info about anthrax. Aren't you glad to know that "Humans and swine possess a greater natural resistance to the disease"?

The swine and I are not nearly as ready to kiss our respective asses goodbye as you two seem to be. (Oh, oops! isn't *that* an image....LOL!)
posted by realjanetkagan at 1:05 AM on October 7, 2001

Do you honestly think we will be told the truth about any of this? do you honestly think this poor man got anthrax from contact with the soil or animal carcasses? Give me a break-this is PULMONARY an internet search people! This person is the first in 25 YEARS to contract pulmonary anthrax and we are supposed to believe this is a coincidence?

Yeah right.

Glad I am right with God....especially since I live near Fort Bragg.....
posted by bunnyfire at 2:59 AM on October 7, 2001

This person is the first in 25 YEARS to contract pulmonary anthrax and we are supposed to believe this is a coincidence?

I certainly wouldn't be jumping to any conclusions. Coincidences do, after all, occur.

Perhaps the most disturbing issue regarding this story, (given the known details) are the enormous problems facing humanity due to the increasing lack of efficacy of antibiotics, largely due to improper use and over-prescription.

A friend who is knowledgeable about anthrax is sure this is military grade anthrax.

Why is that? Could you give us some idea as to this person's qualifications? Otherwise, it's hearsay.
posted by lucien at 3:32 AM on October 7, 2001

Okay, paranoiacs, a few points:

1. From the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy: The incubation period for pulmonary anthrax varies from 12 h to 5 days (generally, 3 to 5 days).

2. The government is nowhere near as good at keeping secrets or as generally sinister as you belive. Case in point: if they were, you would never had heard about this case.

3. Access to gas masks does you no good if you don't have warning before the attack. Please see the 3rd chapter of Chemical and Biological Terrorism: Research and Development to Improve Civilian Medical Response for the following paragraph (and many others):

"The chapter focuses primarily on protection from chemical agents, in part because of the fact that protection from hazardous chemicals will generally provide protection against biological agents as well, and in part because of the committee's belief that, by and large, biological agent incidents are not likely to be evident until well after release of the agent, at which point most agent not already in victims will have dissipated or degraded. "

4. With all the hoopla that went on a few years ago about the anthrax vaccine, how many of you would take it if it were offered free of charge tomorrow?
posted by Irontom at 5:01 AM on October 7, 2001

Paranoia, maybe, but still a cause for vaccinations just to be completely safe.

I see your paranoia and double it: Some Gulf War veterans think anthrax vaccination shots are making them sick.
posted by rcade at 7:02 AM on October 7, 2001

This person is the first in 25 YEARS to contract pulmonary anthrax and we are supposed to believe this is a coincidence?

First diagnosed case. You should also consider the possibility that other cases went undiagnosed because no one was looking for such a rare ailment when anthrax wasn't in the news every single day.
posted by rcade at 7:04 AM on October 7, 2001

Paranoia, definitely. If there's anything I'm afraid of more than biological or nuclear warfare it's willful misunderstanding and uninformed ignorance. Absence of evidence is not proof.
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:57 AM on October 7, 2001

Glad I am right with God...

bunnyfire - strange, but just thismorning god was telling me he's hella pissed at you.
posted by quonsar at 8:20 AM on October 7, 2001

There were 11 cases of pneumonic anthrax in the US between 1955 and 1991 (out of 234 human anthrax cases), according to this week's New Scientist. And I'm with you, rcade...probably there've been a lot more that went undiagnosed because nobody thought to look for anthrax. Now everybody's looking for anthrax---so expect to see a few more genuine cases.

If the cattle start dropping like flies, THEN I'll worry.
posted by realjanetkagan at 9:00 AM on October 7, 2001

Don't be in such a hurry to get vaccinated. I got a Hepatitis B vaccination because my sister needed it for school and I was at the doc when she got it. We didn't even think about the possibility of it doing damage. Now I wish we did. I have mild brain damage and am legally retarded along with a whole other host of problems. I'm lucky if a day goes by where my heart doesn't do a quirky little jig. Yes it's all traced back to the Hep B vaccine.

Now I get my beautifully large monthly $500 check from our dear Uncle Sam to live off of. After all this is the 1940s right? If you think I sound ticked off you're right. The government anticipated effects like this. They created a fund for people like me that essentially gave our lives for the health of this fine country. A precentage of vaccine sales go into this fund so it's somewhere in the billions range now. Unfortunately HHS has made the process so difficult and so long most people die before they get a ruling. Here's the good part. The part that proves the government loves us. If a person lives long enough to be denied access to the fund they can't bring a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company. See the government thought of that. When you ask for access to the fund you sign away your ability to sue anyone else. Nice right?

So my point is don't be so eager to get vaccinated until you know all the risks. Stuff can and will go wrong.
posted by @homer at 9:08 AM on October 7, 2001

One of the things I actually enjoy during this time of trouble is the way it emboldens loons and nut cases so that they speak out loud all the wacky shit they think up throughout the day.

Many have already weighed in, but I enjoy poking idiots, so.......

1) "A friend who is knowledgeable about anthrax is sure this is military grade anthrax."

Lots of people are knowledgeable about anthrax. Including the people who diagnosed and treated the man, vets, medical schools, etc. Are all of these people part of the government cover up? Or is your friend the only person smart enough to see through the lies?

2) "Paranoia, maybe, but still a cause for vaccinations just to be completely safe."

Since side effects requiring hospitalization happen with 1 in 100,000 vaccinations, and side effects occur in 5%, I think you'll have a hard time talking people into this one. Especially since we don't have enough. And only one guy died.

And nice logic there, one guy dies, and some guy you know says there's a conspiracy, so we need to mobilize for a national anthrax emergency.

3) "Our leaders all have access to gas masks and are most likely being given the shots as we speak. What happens to the rest of us?"

Well, as millions of people continue to drop dead in the streets, I suppose our government will finally be able to implement their plan to do what ever bad things they've wanted to do for years. "Yes! That's it! We'll let terrorists kill all the registered voters! That's a brilliant plan. I only hope we can silence that pesky green person."

4) "This person is the first in 25 YEARS to contract pulmonary anthrax"

That might have something to do with the fact that vaccinations for at risk workers started in 1970. The vaccinations don't make the disease go away, they just make it much more rare.

5) "we are supposed to believe this is a coincidence?"

Well since the alternative would be to believe that someone sprayed this guy with spores two weeks ago, for no good reason at all, I tend to go with the coincidence theory. How do you spray one guy with anthrax? Wouldn't you risk getting it yourself? Oh, I forgot, there have been hundreds of deaths, but the Illuminati agents covered it up.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:38 AM on October 7, 2001

Didn't the news report that the anthrax victim contracted the disease by drinking from a stream? If it's a genetically engineered bug, such as Obolensk anthrax, the standard anthrax vaccine may not be effective and the symptoms produced may not be recognized. Several Russian defectors alleged that their country had genetically altered small pox, anthrax and ebola. If our vaccine production facilities do not have access to these modified bugs, our vaccine supply could be useless.
posted by obedo at 1:18 PM on October 7, 2001

Okay y'all, we are all croaking from SOMETHING at some point- but again.I live near Fort Bragg-and I can tell you for a fact that if you believe everything they tell you from over there you are an idiot.
Sometimes there is a good reason(national security)
sometimes not(CYA time)
But someone please explain to me how you contract PULMONARY anthrax from drinking from a stream?
Did the guy sniff the water or something?
You DO know it takes a lot more than one spore to contract this disease right?

I mean, come on, it takes a little EFFORT to get sick with this........

At this point I could almost wonder if the guy did it to himself except that he doesn't sound like the type that could do that to his family.....
posted by bunnyfire at 1:56 PM on October 7, 2001

Well, the doctors reported that the anthrax spores in his body responded to antibiotics, and since they believe that military-grade anthrax is bred to be resistant to antibiotics, this probably was a natural occurrence.

Second, the infection looks more like it would have happened since the Sep. 11 attacks, during a period where the terrorists, having smashed themselves into buildings, are presumed dead.

Third, and most important, it's only one case. If there had been a release of some kind, getting just a single isolated case would have been really, really lousy effectiveness. Not even anybody else exposed but not as sick? His wife's fine? et cetera.

Be aware, but don't waste energy on paranoia.
posted by dhartung at 3:04 PM on October 7, 2001

The DOD Anthrax Immunization Program is done in Flash. Among the facts on the site: Women experience local reactions to the vaccine at twice the rate of men, (60% compared to 30%). The vaccine has been administered to at-risk wool mill workers, veterinarians, laboratory workers, livestock handlers since the 70's.
posted by obedo at 4:57 PM on October 7, 2001

Ay caramba: NBC is reporting that a coworker of the man who died also has Anthrax...
posted by owillis at 12:28 AM on October 8, 2001

Here's the story.
posted by owillis at 1:49 AM on October 8, 2001

They better give everyone in that building antibiotics . If they wait till symptoms show up it will be too late.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:37 AM on October 8, 2001

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