A patient arrives at the door of the ED with a companion, the patient is concerned about a possible Anthrax exposure. The patient has no visible contaminant showing but is concerned about possibly inhaling some powder from an envelope that was opened at home. Of the following, which is the appropriate decontamination procedure?

Staff should don PPE including N95 respirators, gowns, and gloves, and bring the patient and companion to an isolation room to remove their clothes. Their clothes should be treated as HAZMAT.


•The correct answer is that the patient and the companion must be brought to isolation together, and the staff must use every precaution to avoid contamination by donning PPE including an N95 respirator, gown, and gloves.

•Person-to-person transmission of anthrax is not possible, but it is possible to contaminate others via the contaminated clothing via inhaled spores or by contact with the skin. For these reasons, the patient and the companion should be made to remove their clothes and put them in a biohazard bag and wash completely.

•If the exposure is deemed substantial, the Director of the ED should notify the Disaster Control Center.

•Be sure to document “Anthrax Screening” or “Anthrax Testing” for tracking purposes. Also complete an "Anthrax Screening Form" on the patient and fax it to infection control per the institution's policy.

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