It’s very, very hard to find any good news in the recent flood of ominous Anthrax developments. But one example is the seeming survivability of pulmonary (i.e., inhalation) Anthrax. According to established medical literature the survival rate for this condition ranges from the very low single digits to virtually zero.
Yet those statistics are based on data sets which are extremely small, of uncertain reliability, and in some cases simply out of date. And the rapidly and tragically growing number of new cases is giving at least some reason for hope.
The first victim of the recents attacks, Robert Stevens, died of Anthrax, as have two DC postal workers. Significantly, the two DC postal workers died before Anthrax was even suspected, let alone definitively diagnosed. But Ernesto Blanco, the other pulmonary Anthrax victim from AMI in Boca Raton, Florida, has now been released from the hospital. The two other DC postal workers with confirmed pulmonary Anthrax are in very serious, but apparently stable condition. Medical authorities in Virginia are expressing at least cautious hope that they’ll pull through.
One doesn’t want to be naive or foolishly optimistic. But this new evidence does lead to the conclusion that pulmonary Anthrax — perhaps because of rapidly growing medical knowledge or a new generation of antibiotics — is not the 99% killer we thought it was.
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