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Mil Med. 2006 Jul;171(7):589-94.

Development of a risk-priority score for category A bioterrorism agents as an aid for public health policy.

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National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, The Children's Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


In developing public health policy and planning for a bioterrorist attack or vaccination of military personnel, the most common method for assigning priority is using the probability of attack with a particular agent as the single criterion. Using this approach, smallpox is often dismissed as an unlikely threat. We aimed to develop an evidence-based, systematic, multifactorial method for prioritizing the level of risk of each category A bioterrorism agent. Using 10 criterion, anthrax scored the highest, followed by smallpox. Tularemia was the lowest scoring agent. We suggest that such a system would be useful for developing public policy, stockpiling of vaccines and therapeutics, vaccination of military personnel, and planning for public health responses to a bioterrorist attack.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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