Hospitals fear they are low on Cipro anthrax antibiotic

Consumers are flocking to area drug stores for Cipro, the antibiotic antidote to anthrax, but some hospital officials are afraid there will not be enough to go around in the event of an outbreak.

Confirmed cases of anthrax in New York City and Florida and numerous false alarms in Connecticut and across the country have heightened fears of the disease.

With the high number of prescriptions for Cipro being issued, hospital officials fear there may not be enough of the antibiotic if an anthrax outbreak occurs.

Dr. Zane Saul and Dr. Grace Kim, the chiefs of infectious diseases at Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent’s Medical Center, respectively, are urging doctors not to write Cipro prescriptions unless absolutely necessary.

Anthrax cannot be passed from person to person. It is spread through the skin by direct contact, by eating contaminated meat or by inhaling spores.

Dr. James Hadler, director of infectious diseases for the state Department of Public Health, said Connecticut has not seen a case of anthrax in at least 20 years.

“We can deal with small, even moderate outbreaks,” he said. “If there were anything more than that, the state and federal government would step in.”

–Associated Press

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