A patient presents to the ED on referral from the Public Health Department after an anthrax scare at a downtown business district where the patient was working. After the patient is brought to isolation and decontaminated, the patient asks to go home. Which of the following is the correct response from the nurse?


• Correct response: "Of course you can go home. Just monitor yourself for any flu-like symptoms, a cough, or chest discomfort. If that happens, come back in."

• 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 direct contact with spores on the skin. Once the patient has been decontaminated, they are not at risk of contaminating others with inhalation anthrax, even if the patient has anthrax.

• The patient should be brought to an isolation room by staff donning PPE to include an N95 respirator, gown, and gloves, and he should be asked to remove and dispose of his clothing in a biohazard bag and wash completely.

• If the exposure was deemed substantial, the Director of the ED would notify the Disaster Control Center.

• The nurse should be sure to document "Anthrax Screening" or "Anthrax Testing" for tracking purposes. Also the nurse should complete an "Anthrax Screening Form" on the patient and fax it to infection control per their employing institution's policy.

Incorrect options:

• The patient does not need to be quarantined because there is no risk of person to person transmission.

• The incubation period for Anthrax is typically–7 days, but can be up to 60 days in cases of delayed activation of inhaled spores.

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