Physicians Scrambling To Prepare For Anthrax Threat

(LOUISVILLE, October 15th, 2001, 5:30 p.m.) -- As the number of reported cases of anthrax continues to grow, it isn't a surprise that physicians around the country are studying up on the disease that hasn't been diagnosed for years.

Dermatologist Dr. Lafayette Owen has been treating skin disorders for years, and now, he and his staff are on the lookout for the cutaneous form of anthrax -- the kind formed from a cut on the skin.

Owen recently spent time making sure his staff is able to recognize the disease. "We just talked about what it looks like on the skin, under the microscope," Owen said, noting that its symptoms can cause anthrax to be misdiagnosed. "It looks like a boil, looks like staph, but it's not tender like a staph boil would be," Owen said.

Dr. Owen hasn't treated anyone with anthrax yet, but making sure his staff has increased awareness of the disease is crucial at a time when the recent alarm over anthrax has Americans seeking treatment from a physician, even as a precautionary measure.

That's why Dr. Owen's office already has a plan in place to deal with a possible anthrax infection. "We would see if they were exposed, do they have any symptoms, we would see what kind of lesion they had."

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Online Reporter: Shannon Davidson
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