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JCMAN320
March 23rd, 2006, 12:59 PM
Anthrax victim to stay in Jersey City

The New York dancer and drum maker who contracted anthranx from an animal hide is planning to stay in Jersey City now that he's been released from the hospital.

Although their fifth-floor walk-up has been treated with bleach, Vado Diomandes and his wife, Lisa, plan to stay temporarily with Lisa's brother and sister-in-law here in Hudson

``Our apartment in New York is a very big question. All of our clothes, curtains, rugs and beds have been taken out of there. It's not in a livable condition,'' Lisa Diomande said.

Anthrax is not transmitted from person to person and Dr. James Walsh, the chief lung doctor at Robert Packer Hospital in Pennsylvania where Diomande was treated, said people should not have any concerns about contact with Diomande.

``You can take drum lessons from him and not get anthrax,'' he said. ``If you buy a drum from him, you're not going to get inhalational anthrax. If you shake his hand you're not going to get inhalational anthrax.''


Yesterday, Diomande thanked his doctors, smiled broadly and did a jig in a hospital auditorium before he was released, showing off his remarkable recovery from a rare and usually fatal form of anthrax.

Diomande, an Ivory Coast native, contracted the first case of naturally occurring inhalation anthrax in the United States since 1976. He was discharged more than a month after collapsing during a dance performance at a Pennsylvania university.

Diomande's physical strength and good health played a key role in his recovery, his doctors said.

Diomande, 44, said he believes he contracted the disease while working with a large cowhide to make drums about a week before his Feb. 16 collapse. Previously he had told health officials he had been working with goatskin.

Officials believe he inhaled anthrax spores while making the instruments.

Diomande plans to resume drum making, but said he'll wear a mask and wet down the animal hides before he cuts them. He said he's not sure whether the animal skin that made him ill came from Africa or the United States.

Diomande, who lost 45 or 50 pounds during his ordeal, had to be placed on a ventilator and underwent multiple surgeries to drain fluid from around his lungs. He still has abnormal lung function and will have to take antibiotics for several more weeks. An anthrax infection, Walsh said, ``can be very insidious.''

Inhaled anthrax is the deadliest form of the disease, with a fatality rate of about 75 percent even when antibiotics are given, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Philip S. Brachman, an anthrax expert at Emory University in Atlanta, said the 2001 anthrax attacks taught doctors that massive, rapidly administered doses of antibiotics greatly improve a patient's chance of survival. Of the 11 cases of inhaled anthrax from the attacks, six victims survived.

``With aggressive therapy, the mortality rate should be closer to 50 percent,'' said Brachman, who wasn't involved in Diomande's care.

Diomande said he hopes to dance again in as little as two weeks — a timetable his doctors call highly unlikely. Walsh said it will probably be several months before Diomande is able to resume performing with the dance troupe he founded.

His wife said she's ``not at all'' worried about Diomande's return to drum-making.

``New York City is in a panic because the distinctions have not been made clear enough. Vado had an industrial accident. ... This is a freak accident,'' she said.

Associated Pres

Schadenfrau
March 23rd, 2006, 02:11 PM
Is the mayor going to give him a key to the city?