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Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Jul;135(5):733-9. Epub 2006 Nov 23.

Modelling outbreak control for pneumonic plague.

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  • 1INSERM, U707, Paris, F-75012, France.


Although pneumonic plague is listed by the Centers of Disease Control in the leading 'critical biological agents', very few studies exist on this subject. In this study, a mathematical compartment model was used to describe the geographical and temporal spread of an epidemic of pneumonic plague following its use as a biological weapon. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed in order to assess the key parameters for the control of an outbreak in France. If interventions were taken 10 days after an attack, a reference scenario of 1000 index cases in Paris would lead to 2500 deaths. The results of the study indicate that the rapidity of onset of interventions has the largest effect on the final size of the epidemic, followed by wearing masks, treating contacts preventively and quarantine. Limiting inter-regional mixing does little to reduce casualties, although it does confine them to a single region.

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