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Bioterrorism Management

Public Health Alert


  • Infectious Disease Physicians
  • Hospital Emergency Departments
  • Hospital Infection Control
  • Acute Care Clinics

Management of Possible Anthrax or Other Bio-Terror Exposures

The County of Orange, Health Care Agency (OCHCA) has been receiving many calls regarding the management of patients with possible anthrax exposures. In the event of a discovery of a suspect substance, law enforcement/FBI will respond to investigate the incident to perform a threat assessment. There is no need to seek medical attention if the incident is deemed non-credible by law enforcement. The following information may assist you in managing inquiries from your patients:

To date:

  1. There have been NO true anthrax exposures in California, despite numerous threats / hoaxes.
  2. There have been NO suspect cases of anthrax disease in California.
  3. There is NO recommendation for nasal swabs or diagnostic labs for the worried well, or for those exposed to a "non-credible" substance; in the event of a documented anthrax exposure, OCHCA will contact the exposed individuals to be tested and make recommendations regarding antimicrobials.
  4. There has been no indication for antibiotic prophylaxis in any California resident, other than those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for those having a known exposure where anthrax has been identified by laboratory testing.
  5. We do not recommend physicians prescribe antibiotics for patients to have on hand at home.
  6. Concerned residents may call our information line at (714) 834-7766 or the Governor's Office of Emergency Services hotline at (800) 550-5234 (TTY 800-550-5281) for more information.

Please call OCHCA immediately if you do encounter any suspect cases of a biological attack- such as anthrax, smallpox, tularemia, plague, botulism or hemorrhagic fever. Reports can be made by telephone (714) 834-8180 or fax (714) 834-8196, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. After hours, please contact Sheriff Communications in case of emergency (714) 628-7008 and ask for the Public Health Officer on-call. This after hours number is for use only by physicians and health care facilities.

Adapted from Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services

If you would like more information on bioterrorism, please view the following websites: