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November 6 , 2001


Attention: Chief Executive Officer and Infection Control Practitioner

RE: Revised clinical criteria for suspected anthrax reporting.

Since October 23rd, 2001, infection control practitioners (ICPs) from across New Jersey have voluntarily participated in an enhanced surveillance system for anthrax, a system that has been invaluable in determining the extent of the outbreak in New Jersey. Both the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) field team in New Jersey are very appreciative of these efforts to identify and refer potential cases.

In response to recommendations from participating ICPs, we have revised the clinical criteria for reporting of potential anthrax cases. In addition to simplifying the previous criteria, these criteria specifically exclude patients whose acute clinical syndrome is clearly attributable to an exacerbation of a previously diagnosed chronic illness.

As always, in addition to reporting all cases that meet the revised criteria for reporting, we urge you to report any other cases that may not meet these criteria but which could, in your judgment, represent potential cases of anthrax

Thank you for your continued willingness to collaborate with us in this important public health issue. If you have any questions or comments regarding this system, please contact the New Jersey Emergency Operations Center at (609) 538-6030.

Eddy Bresnitz, M.D.
State Epidemiologist / Senior Assistant Commissioner
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

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