Study: Doctors not ready for bioterrorism

September 26, 2005

A Johns Hopkins University study in Baltimore indicates many U.S. physicians are ill-prepared to diagnose or treat bioterrorism diseases.

The researchers said more than one-half of 631 physicians tested were unable to correctly diagnose diseases caused by agents most likely to be used by bioterrorists -- smallpox, anthrax, botulism and plague.

However, test scores improved dramatically for the same physicians after they completed an online training course in diagnosing and managing diseases caused by bioterrorism agents.

"Most American physicians in practice today have never seen any cases of these diseases in their practice," explained Dr. Sara Cosgrove, a faculty member in Hopkins' Division of Infectious Diseases. "Preparation will be key to dealing with a major catastrophe, such as a major bioterrorist attack."

In the study, physicians at 30 internal medicine residency programs in 16 states and Washington, D.C. were tested on how to recognize and treat bioterrorism-related diseases before and after taking an online course in bioterrorism disease. Correct management of such diseases in the pretest averaged 25.4 percent. Upon completion of the course, correct management averaged 79 percent.

The study is detailed in the Sept. 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Synbio and biosecurity

Related Stories

Synbio and biosecurity

February 7, 2017

The world in 1918 was emerging from under the pall of a World War that had claimed 38 million lives, and yet in the span of only one year, just as many lives would be lost to the Spanish Flu—an influenza pandemic that is ...

Better tests needed to improve patient care, public health

November 7, 2013

Despite advances in diagnostic technology, there is an urgent need for tests that are easy to use, identify the bug causing an infection and provide results faster than current tests, according to a report from the Infectious ...

Americans increasingly anxious about Ebola: poll

October 10, 2014

(HealthDay)—One-quarter of Americans now view Ebola as a major public health threat to the United States, with many saying they'd change their travel plans due to Ebola fears, a new Harris Poll/HealthDay survey reveals.

How contagious pathogens could lead to nuke-level casualties

May 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—What if nuclear bombs could reproduce? Get your hands on one today, and in a week's time you've got a few dozen. Of course, nukes don't double on their own. But contagious, one-celled pathogens do. Properly ...

Answering crucial questions about anthrax exposure

August 15, 2013

If terrorists targeted the United States with an anthrax attack, health care providers and policy makers would need key information – such as knowing the likelihood of an individual becoming infected, how many cases to ...

Recommended for you

Study finds 6,600 spills from fracking in just four states

February 21, 2017

Each year, 2 to 16 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids and other substances, according to a new study.The analysis, which appears Feb. ...

Nanostraws sample a cell's contents without damage

February 21, 2017

Cells within our bodies divide and change over time, with thousands of chemical reactions occurring within each cell daily. This makes it difficult for scientists to understand what's happening inside. Now, tiny nanostraws ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.