Dear Administrator - Basic Anthrax Principles
November 26, 2001
The New York State Department of Health, Division of Quality and Surveillance of Nursing Homes and ICF/MRs, shares your commitment in protecting the health of your residents and employees in your facility. Since September 11, 2001 there has been heightened public concern about bioterrorism, specifically Anthrax. The purpose of this letter is to provide information to your facility on some basic principles of this disease.
For your information you will find attachments on Protocols for Mail Handling (#1), Anthrax Fact Sheet (#2), Decontamination Procedure (#3), as well as a Fact Sheet on Bioterrorism Agents (#4). Additionally, you are encouraged to address the emotional concerns of the frail and elderly in your nursing homes. Although there have been no reported cases of Anthrax in NYS Nursing Homes or Intermediate Care Facilities, the fear that exists for all Americans extends to the residents for whom you care. During these times it is important that your residents' anxieties are acknowledged and are dealt with appropriately for each individual.
In the event of an unusual outbreak of a disease pattern, you should contact your local county health department. If you cannot make contact with them, call the NYSDOH Bureau of Communicable Diseases:
Normal work hours:518-473-4436
After business hours and on weekends: 518-465-9720
For more information on biological agents, consult the Center for Disease Control's Bioterrorism website at http://www.bt.cdc.gov.
At this time of uncertainty in America, I thank you and your staff for your continued care of our nursing home population in New York State.
Anna D. Colello, Director
Division of Quality Assurance and Surveillance
for Nursing Homes and ICF/MRs