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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Virginia Hospital Testing Man for Anthrax

Aired October 9, 2001 - 06:51   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: There has been a news conference this morning out of Manassas, Virginia and the latest report of yet another anthrax case.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is outside of Prince William Hospital, and, Jeanne, I understand you have a doctor with you.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do, Carol.

Let me tell you, first, that a 40-year-old man came to the hospital last night complaining of flu-like symptoms. He had connections to American Media, Inc, which is the company which owns the building in Florida where one employee has died and another has been shown have been exposed to the anthrax virus -- excuse me -- bacteria.

There was a press conference here at the hospital a short time ago, and we were told we do not think this is an anthrax case.

Joining me now -- Dr. Thomas Ryan, who is director of emergency services here.

Why do you not think this is anthrax?

DR. THOMAS RYAN, PRINCE WILLIAM HOSPITAL: Well, Jeanne, at this point, all of the preliminary smears and the antibody tests that were done in Richmond by the state lab are negative. The patient's signs and symptoms are flu-like. He's doing very well. He's in stable condition. I recently spoke to his infectious disease attending physician, and we both feel that this is an unlikely diagnosis at this point.

MESERVE: When will you have the final test results? When will you know definitely whether or not this is anthrax?

RYAN: Yes, I was just informed that within the next 24 hours, we should know. The culture should back within the next 24 hours. Those are being done in the state lab in Richmond.

MESERVE: Now, did this patient come in believing that he had anthrax?

RYAN: He was very concerned. He and his wife were concerned, because there was some connection to this AMI Group. Evidently, he works in a building that may be owned by AMI Group. I don't have all of the details. The FBI is investigating that, as well as the Health Department.

MESERVE: Is this an indication to you of how concerned the public is about the possibility of some biological agent -- that this man came to you believing himself that he had anthrax?

RYAN: Yes, I think there is a heightened sense of awareness right now. I think we have a heightened sense of surveillance, and we're going to be pursuing this and pursuing these diseases. And right now, everything looks good, and I think the public needs to be reassured.

MESERVE: Is he on antibiotics now?

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: He is on antibiotics right now.

MESERVE: And have tests been done on family members, co-workers?

RYAN: Yes, anthrax is not a communicable disease. It's a disease that is spread by acts of terrorism or by exposure to animals. So if there were an index case, they couldn't transmit it to hospital personnel or their relatives. So that's a very important point to stress.

MESERVE: There have been a lot of questions about whether the public health system is ready for a biological problem. Were you ready for this?

RYAN: Yes, we were. We over the last number of weeks, some of the finest minds in this area -- medical minds in this area have been looking at this problem, and we are -- we have contingency plans that are in effect right now and are being developed. So the public needs to be reassured.

MESERVE: The public is very concerned. What do you have to say to them that would be reassuring at this point?

RYAN: I think right now we are educating ourselves day by day, and we get stronger every day -- as every day goes by. We get more educated every day as the time goes on, and I think they understand that we are looking out for their best interests, and we're going to protect them.

MESERVE: What happens with this patient now? How long will he be at this hospital?

RYAN: That is undetermined at this point. His attending physician will determine that. It depends on the cultures and how he does clinically.

MESERVE: And his condition right now?

RYAN: His condition is very stable.

MESERVE: OK. Dr. Thomas Ryan, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

RYAN: You're very welcome.

MESERVE: Once again, this case here at Prince William Hospital -- they do not believe at this point is a case of anthrax. Final results expected in 24 hours -- back to you.

LIN: All right. Thank you very much, Jeanne Meserve reporting live from Manassas, Virginia.

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THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: There has been a news conference this morning out of Manassas, Virginia and the latest report of yet another anthrax case.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is outside of Prince William Hospital, and, Jeanne, I understand you have a doctor with you.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do, Carol. Let me tell you, first, that a 40-year-old man came to the hospital last night complaining of flu-like symptoms. He had connections to American Media, Inc, which is the company which owns the building in Florida where one employee has died and another has been shown have been exposed to the anthrax virus -- excuse me -- bacteria.

There was a press conference here at the hospital a short time ago, and we were told we do not think this is an anthrax case.

Joining me now -- Dr. Thomas Ryan, who is director of emergency services here.

Why do you not think this is anthrax?

DR. THOMAS RYAN, PRINCE WILLIAM HOSPITAL: Well, Jeanne, at this point, all of the preliminary smears and the antibody tests that were done in Richmond by the state lab are negative. The patient's signs and symptoms are flu-like. He's doing very well. He's in stable condition.>


 
 
 
 


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