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Anthrax Testing

There is no screening test indicated for the detection of anthrax infection in an asymptomatic person. Nasal swabs should not be used for diagnosis. Nasal swabs and blood serum tests are used as epidemiological tools to characterize outbreaks in areas of known exposures.

Local and state public health authorities should be notified immediately in the event of a suspected exposure or illness suggestive of anthrax or any bioterrorism agent.

CDC 24 hour emergency number is (770) 488-7100.

Physicians who want to rule out anthrax in hospitalized patients with compatible symptoms should use standard diagnostic procedures, including chest X-rays and appropriate specimens for culture based on the clinical form of anthrax that is suspected:

  • -Inhalational anthrax: Blood, CSF, Sputum
  • -Cutaneous anthrax: Blood, Vesicular fluid
  • -GI anthrax: Blood, Stool, Vomitus

Bacillus anthracis can be isolated by routine cultures from these specimens, however,

please alert the microbiology laboratory on the requisition, or by phone if anthrax is suspected.

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