More than one-half of 631 physicians tested were unable to correctly diagnose diseases caused by agents most likely to be used by bioterrorists, such as smallpox, anthrax, botulism and plague, according to a Johns Hopkins study published in the Sept. 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. However, test scores improved dramatically for the same physicians after they completed an online training course in diagnosing and managing these diseases caused by bioterrorism agents, according to the study.
Most American physicians in practice today have never seen any cases of these diseases in their practice, explained Sara Cosgrove, MD, MS, a faculty member in
In the study, 631 physicians at 30 internal medicine residency programs in 16 states and
Other Hopkins researchers involved in the study include Stephen Sisson, MD, assistant professor of medicine; Trish Perl, MD, MSc, associate professor of medicine and pathology and hospital epidemiologist; and Xiaoyan Song, MD, assistant professor of medicine.