Use of emergency department data for case finding following a community anthrax exposure


On 24 December 2009, a female New Hampshire resident was confirmed to have gastrointestinal anthrax on the basis of clinical findings and laboratory testing. Her source of anthrax was not immediately known, so the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with several other state and federal agencies, conducted a comprehensive epidemiologic investigation, which included active surveillance to identify any additional anthrax cases from a similar exposure. It was determined that the index patient participated in a drumming event with animal-hide drums on 4 December, one day before the onset of symptoms. Two drums used at the event were later found to be contaminated with Bacillus anthracis.



This paper describes the use of customizable tools to query electronic emergency department data, as part of case finding, during the response to a community anthrax exposure in New Hampshire.

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December, 2010

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