Case report: Septicemic plague in a community hospital in California

Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California, United States
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene (Impact Factor: 2.7). 07/2008; 78(6):868-71.
Source: PubMed


Diagnosis of a case of septicemic plague acquired in rural California was delayed because of a series of confounding events, resulting in concern about reliance on community hospitals as sentinels for detecting potential bioterrorism-related events. An epizootic study confirmed the peridomestic source of Yersinia pestis infection.

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    ABSTRACT: The anthrax incident of 2001 in the United States prompted the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop exercises for Laboratory Response Network (LRN) sentinel laboratories. To provide an overview of the results of the CAP bioterrorism Laboratory Preparedness Survey (LPS, 2007) and Laboratory Preparedness Exercise (LPX, 2008) and assist LRN sentinel laboratories and public health agencies in planning for bioterrorism events. Bioterrorism agents and nonbiothreat mimic organisms were provided in 2 mailings per year (2007 and 2008, 20 total challenges). Within each mailing, 2 to 3 agents were category A or category B bioterrorism agents (total of 10 categoric challenges). Some category A/B isolates were modified/vaccine strains. The total number of laboratories participating in these exercises ranged from 1316 to 1381. Isolate characteristics used to identify the organisms were compiled along with the participants' reporting actions. Educational commentary was provided with each exercise. Acceptable identification responses were as follows: Bacillus anthracis, 90% (2007) and 99.9% (2008); Yersinia pestis, 83.8% (2007) and 87.6% (2008); and Francisella tularensis subsp Holarctica, 86.6% (2007) and 91.6% (2008). The time interval between specimen receipt and notification of results to an LRN reference laboratory decreased from more than 10 days in 2007 to 3 or 4 days in 2008 for some challenges. The bioterrorism challenge program (LPS, LPX) provides important comparative data from more than 1300 sentinel laboratories that can be used by individual laboratories to evaluate their identification and LRN reporting performance.
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