Obligatory findings in 42 postmortem observation of anthrax were hemorrhagic alterations of the intrathoracic lymph nodes and mediastinum. Hemorrhagic alterations in the respiratory organs, digestive tract, brain and meninges were also found macroscopically.
Histologic studies of 42 cases of anthrax revealed that serous-hemorrhagic, hemorrhagic and hemorrhagic-necrotic inflammation was a substrate of macroscopic changes. Morphological characteristics of alterations in the respiratory organs, lymph nodes and mediastinum, digestive tract and liver, spleen, kidneys, brain and meninges are presented.
Hemorrhagic lymphadenitis of the intrathoracic lymph nodes and mediastinitis are shown to be the primary septical focus, this indicating an inhalation route of the contamination with development of pulmonary anthrax. The alterations in the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system are considered to be secondary resulting from lymphohematogenic generalization of the anthraxic sepsis. The attention is drawn to the morphological signs of the immunodepression and the inhibition of granulocytic reaction. It is noted that the epidemic outburst of the pulmonary anthrax is without analogs and its development may be the result only of a massive penetration of bacteria into the atmosphere.
A large epidemic of anthrax that occurred in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg), Russia, in 1979 resulted in the deaths of many persons. A series of 42 necropsies, representing a majority of the fatalities from this outbreak, consistently revealed pathologic lesions diagnostic of inhalational anthrax, namely hemorrhagic necrosis of the thoracic lymph nodes in the lymphatic drainage of the lungs and hemorrhagic mediastinitis. Bacillus anthracis was recovered in bacterial cultures of 20 cases, and organisms were detected microscopically in the infected tissues of nearly all of the cases. A novel observation was primary focal hemorrhagic necrotizing pneumonia at the apparent portal of entry in 11 cases. Mesenteric lymphadenitis occurred in only 9 cases. This remarkably large series demonstrated the full range of effects of anthrax bacteremia and toxemia (edema especially adjacent to sites of extensive infection and pleural effusions) and hematogenously disseminated infection [hemorrhagic meningitis (21 cases) and multiple gastrointestinal submucosal hemorrhagic lesions (39 cases)].
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An outbreak of human anthrax occurred in Sverdlovsk, Union of Soviet Socialists Republic (now Ekaterinburg, Russia) in April 1979. Officials attributed this to consumption of contaminated meat, but Western governments believed it resulted from inhalation of spores accidentally released from a nearby military research facility. Tissue samples from 11 victims were obtained and methods of efficiently extracting high-quality total DNA from these samples were developed. Extracted DNA was analyzed by using PCR to determine whether it contained Bacillus anthracis-specific sequences. Double PCR using "nested primers" increased sensitivity of the assay significantly. Tissue samples from 11 persons who died during the epidemic were examined. Results demonstrated that the entire complement of B. anthracis toxin and capsular antigen genes required for pathogenicity were present in tissues from each of these victims. Tissue from a vaccination site contained primarily nucleic acids from a live vaccine, although traces of genes from the infecting organisms were also present. PCR analysis using primers that detect the vrrA gene variable region on the B. anthracis chromosome demonstrated that at least four of the five known strain categories defined by this region were present in the tissue samples. Only one category is found in a single B. anthracis strain.
Forty-one cases of documented inhalational anthrax from the Sverdlovsk epidemic of 1979 traced to release of aerosols of Bacillus anthracis at a secret biologic-agent production facility were evaluated by semiquantitative histopathologic analysis of tissue concentrations of organisms, inflammation, hemorrhage, and other lesions in the mediastinum, mediastinal lymph nodes, bronchi, lungs, heart, spleen, liver, intestines, kidneys, adrenal glands, and central nervous system. These data were correlated with clinical, epidemiologic, and demographic data. The patients' courses, with a variable incubation period and short nonspecific course (4 days before hospitalization) with rapid demise (1 day of hospitalization before death), correlated with systemic bacterial infection and lesions. Bacillus anthracis were identified in all cases in which there was no antibiotic treatment or there was treatment for fewer than 21 hours. The lesions that were the most severe and apparently of longest duration were in the mediastinal lymph nodes and mediastinum. There and elsewhere, peripheral transudate surrounded fibrin-rich edema; necrosis of arteries and veins was the most likely source of large hemorrhages displacing tissue or infiltrating tissue, respectively; and apoptosis of lymphocytes was observed. Respiratory function was compromised by mediastinal expansion, large pleural effusions, and hematogenous and retrograde lymphatic vessel spread of B. anthracis to the lung with consequent pneumonia. The central nervous system and intestines manifested similar hematogenous spread, vasculitis, hemorrhages, and edema. These pathologic findings are consistent with previous experimental studies showing transport of inhaled spores to mediastinal lymph nodes, where germination and growth lead to local lesions and systemic spread, with resulting edema and cell death, owing to the effects of edema toxin and lethal toxin. The identification of the vascular lesions as a basis for the prominent hemorrhages is a novel observation for human inhalational anthrax.
The paper is concerned with the description of clinical, x-ray and morphological investigation of 123 bronchoalveolar cancer patients. Three types of this disease were defined: nodular (homogeneous and nonhomogeneous), pneumonia-like (infiltrative and infiltrative-nodular) and mixed (focal-disseminated, focal-nodular and focal-infiltrative). These types of bronchoalveolar cancer are most probably stages of the same tumor process. Clinical and x-ray signs of each type showed correlation with a morphological picture of a tumor. Shadow nonhomogeneity as one of the main x-ray signs of bronchoalveolar cancer was shown to be determined by the "alveolar" structure of a tumor, a tendency to the formation of small cavities, filled with viscous mucosa and air. Correct clinical and x-ray diagnosis in all types of bronchoalveolar cancer (before the use of the morphological methods) was established in 45.5% of the patients.