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The following are steps to prevent food-borne illnesses, including gastrointestinal anthrax. These steps should be taken regardless of any bioterrorism threat. Precautions beyond these are not required. The steps are:
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Call the Mills County Public Health Department at 712-527-9699.
Your local police department.
The Mills County Public Health Department and your physician.
Here are some things to consider when deciding if a package or letter is suspicious:
Local law enforcement personnel will decide if the threat is credible and take appropriate action.
The Iowa Department of Public Health will contact the Mills County Public Health Department for further follow-up.
All physicians in Mills County have been provided with information in order to identify the symptoms and signs of the different types of anthrax. If you are concerned about any symptoms you are experiencing, contact your doctor and he/she can evaluate you.
If you have not been exposed, there is no need to take antibiotics in order to prevent anthrax. Antibiotics may have side effects, and the overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacteria.
There is no test available that is useful to assess exposure to anthrax. If exposure were to occur, public health officials will investigate and inform people whether they have been exposed and if they need antibiotics. The blood tests or nasal swabs that you read or hear about are not useful to determine whether an individual should be treated with antibiotics. They are used only to determine the extent of exposure in a given situation.