Respiratory tract

A patient arrives at the triage desk of the ED complaining of a sudden onset of a high fever and respiratory flulike symptoms. Three other patients with similar complaints arrived to the ED within the past 2 hours. The CDC has recently issued an alert that the swine flu may be returning this year and to be prepared for patients with these symptoms. What signs and symptoms should you identify if you suspect a biologic weapon may be the culprit? Which agents cause pneumonialike or flulike signs and symptoms? What precautions should be taken to protect staff and patients? What type of isolation would be typical if you suspect a contagion that is transmitted by the respiratory tract? What other questions would you ask the patient to determine his exposure risks?

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