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Biosecur Bioterror. 2007 Mar;5(1):26-34.

Public health response to an anthrax attack: an evaluation of vaccination policy options.

Author information

  • 1IEM, Inc., Bel Air, Maryland 21015, USA. sid.baccam@iem.com


A discrete-time, deterministic, compartmental model was developed and analyzed to provide insight into how the use of anthrax vaccine before or after a large-scale attack can reduce casualties. The model accounts for important response and protection factors such as antibiotic and vaccine efficacy, the protective effects of buildings, the timing of emergency response, and antibiotic adherence and vaccine coverage in the population prior to the attack. The relative benefit of pre- versus post-exposure vaccination is influenced by the timing of the post-exposure antibiotic distribution campaign as well as assumptions of antibiotic adherence. The results indicate that, regardless of which vaccination policy is adopted, a rapid and effective post-attack medical response has a large impact on the number of lives that can be saved by a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) campaign. A sensitivity analysis of the model indicates that uncertainty in medical efficacy and the time to initiate a PEP campaign are the model parameters that have the greatest impact on the number of predicted deaths. It is shown that for each day that a mass prophylaxis campaign is delayed, more casualties and deaths result than for each day that the completion of the campaign is delayed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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