From the Chicago Tribune:
"CHICAGO -- Asked to tell which of five likely bioterror weapons would cause specific symptoms, Chicago emergency room doctors did poorly.
The 36 physicians and 37 doctors in training missed more than two-thirds of the questions about chemical weapons and more than half of those about biological agents, according to a report presented Sunday at the convention of the American College of Emergency Medicine in New Orleans.
"It was meant to be hard," said Dr. S.B. Chan of Resurrection Medical Center in Chicago, where the study was done.
The study is disturbing but too small to make any conclusions about emergency room doctors in general, said Dr. Peter DeBlieux, director of emergency medicine services at LSU Health Care Systems Division."
While ER docs usually aren't confronted with infections caused by a bioweapon agent, I think this is a great indication that they need to be given specific education on what to look for in case of biological attack.
Here's a mini-primer just for you, my lovely and dedicated readers:
Tularemia - pneumonia, joint stiffness, muscle pain
Anthrax - bloody lymph, flu-like symptoms followed by toxic shock
Smallpox - raised pink rash, high fever, low platelet count
Botulism - abdominal pain, double vision, labored heavy breathing
There's four. I couldn't think of a fifth... but hey, I'm not even a med student let alone a seasoned ER doc, so I think I deserve a break.