Inhalational, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous anthrax in children: A systematic review of cases: 1900 to 2005

Dena M. Bravata, Jon Erik C. Holty, Ewen Wang, Robyn Lewis, Paul H. Wise, Kathryn M. McDonald, Douglas K. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Objective: To systematically review all published case reports of children with anthrax to evaluate the predictors of disease progression and mortality. Data Sources: Fourteen selected journal indexes (1900-1966), MEDLINE (1966-2005), and the bibliographies of all retrieved articles. Study Selection: Case reports (any language) of anthrax in persons younger than 18 years published between January 1, 1900, and December 31, 2005. Main Exposures: Cases with symptoms and culture or Gram stain or autopsy evidence of anthrax infection. Main Outcome Measures: Disease progression, treatment responses, and mortality. Results: Of 2499 potentially relevant articles, 73 case reports of pediatric anthrax (5 inhalational cases, 22 gastrointestinal cases, 37 cutaneous cases, 6 cases of primary meningoencephalitis, and 3 atypical cases) met the inclusion criteria. Only 10% of the patients were younger than 2 years, and 24% were girls. Of the few children with inhalational anthrax, none had nonheadache neurologic symptoms, a key finding that distinguishes adult inhalational anthrax from more common illnesses, such as influenza. Overall, observed mortality was 60% (3 of 5) for inhalational anthrax, 65% (13 of 20) for gastrointestinal anthrax, 14% (5 of 37) for cutaneous anthrax, and 100% (6 of 6) for primary meningoencephalitis. Nineteen of the 30 children (63%) who received penicillin-based antibiotics survived, and 9 of the 11 children (82%) who received anthrax antiserum survived. Conclusions: The clinical presentation of children with anthrax is varied. The mortality rate is high in children with inhalational anthrax, gastrointestinal anthrax, and anthrax meningoencephalitis. Rapid diagnosis and effective treatment of anthrax in children requires recognition of the broad spectrum of clinical presentations of pediatric anthrax.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)896-905
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Volume161
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Anthrax
Meningoencephalitis
Mortality
Cutaneous anthrax
Gastrointestinal anthrax
Disease Progression
Pediatrics
Information Storage and Retrieval
Bibliography
Neurologic Manifestations
MEDLINE
Penicillins
Human Influenza
Immune Sera
Autopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

Cite this

Inhalational, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous anthrax in children : A systematic review of cases: 1900 to 2005. / Bravata, Dena M.; Holty, Jon Erik C.; Wang, Ewen; Lewis, Robyn; Wise, Paul H.; McDonald, Kathryn M.; Owens, Douglas K.

In: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 161, No. 9, 01.09.2007, p. 896-905.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Bravata, Dena M. ; Holty, Jon Erik C. ; Wang, Ewen ; Lewis, Robyn ; Wise, Paul H. ; McDonald, Kathryn M. ; Owens, Douglas K. / Inhalational, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous anthrax in children : A systematic review of cases: 1900 to 2005. In: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007 ; Vol. 161, No. 9. pp. 896-905.
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