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Answering crucial questions about anthrax exposure
Date:8/15/2013

nce of infection is 160. These estimates were derived by developing and refining a competing-risks model in which the inhaled bacteria is trying to set up an infection in the lungs and the human body is trying to expel or control the bacteria. Toth then used available experimental animal data to optimize the working of the model to produce results that matched the timing of cases at Sverdlovsk.

"Our study, for the first time, takes all the best data and modeling techniques available on dose response and evaluates them critically," Toth says. "No one study satisfied all our criteria to be the best model, so we refined the available information to develop our model."

"When the Institute of Medicine was asked to look at the effectiveness and costs of different strategies to respond to an anthrax in 2012, the Committee identified a critical need for accurate information on the time from exposure until people became ill and how this would change depending on the dose," said Andrew Pavia, M.D., professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah and a member of the IOM committee that wrote the report, "Prepositioning antibiotics for Anthrax," and a consultant to CDC on anthrax. "The time between exposure and when symptoms develop is the most effective time to administer antibiotics to prevent illness. This study adds a thoughtful approach to using all of the available data to improve these estimates, but considerable uncertainty will remain." Pavia was not involved in the study

Along with existing animal studies, data gathered from the accident at Sverdlovsk proved invaluable. Up to 100 people died when a filter was accidently left off a piece of equipment at a plant that was developing anthrax as a bioterrorism weapon. Spores of the bacteria were released into the air near the town of Sverdlovsk. The Soviets eventually let outside experts in to study the accident. From publicly available accounts, despite limited reco
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Contact: Phil Sahm
phil.sahm@hsc.utah.edu
801-581-2517
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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