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1.  Anthrax Postexposure Prophylaxis in Postal Workers, Connecticut, 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1133-1137.
After inhalational anthrax was diagnosed in a Connecticut woman on November 20, 2001, postexposure prophylaxis was recommended for postal workers at the regional mail facility serving the patient’s area. Although environmental testing at the facility yielded negative results, subsequent testing confirmed the presence of Bacillus anthracis. We distributed questionnaires to 100 randomly selected postal workers within 20 days of initial prophylaxis. Ninety-four workers obtained antibiotics, 68 of whom started postexposure prophylaxis and 21 discontinued. Postal workers who stopped or never started taking prophylaxis cited as reasons disbelief regarding anthrax exposure, problems with adverse events, and initial reports of negative cultures. Postal workers with adverse events reported predominant symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and headache. The influence of these concerns on adherence suggests that communication about risks of acquiring anthrax, education about adverse events, and careful management of adverse events are essential elements in increasing adherence.
PMCID: PMC2730305  PMID: 12396928
Anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; prophylaxis; adverse effects; ciprofloxacin; doxycycline; patient noncompliance; Connecticut
2.  Adherence to Antimicrobial Inhalational Anthrax Prophylaxis among Postal Workers, Washington, D.C., 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1138-1144.
In October 2001, two envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores were processed at the Washington, D.C., Processing and Distribution Center of the U.S. Postal Service; inhalational anthrax developed in four workers at this facility. More than 2,000 workers were advised to complete 60 days of postexposure prophylaxis to prevent inhalational anthrax. Interventions to promote adherence were carried out to support workers, and qualitative information was collected to evaluate our interventions. A quantitative survey was administered to a convenience sample of workers to assess factors influencing adherence. No anthrax infections developed in any workers involved in the interventions or interviews. Of 245 workers, 98 (40%) reported full adherence to prophylaxis, and 45 (18%) had completely discontinued it. Experiencing adverse effects to prophylaxis, anxiety, and being <45 years old were risk factors for discontinuing prophylaxis. Interventions, especially frequent visits by public health staff, proved effective in supporting adherence.
PMCID: PMC2730315  PMID: 12396929
adherence; Bacillus anthracis; bioterrorism; antimicrobial prophylaxis; compliance
3.  Recombinant Protective Antigen Anthrax Vaccine Improves Survival when Administered as a Postexposure Prophylaxis Countermeasure with Antibiotic in the New Zealand White Rabbit Model of Inhalation Anthrax 
Inhalation anthrax is a potentially lethal form of disease resulting from exposure to aerosolized Bacillus anthracis spores. Over the last decade, incidents spanning from the deliberate mailing of B. anthracis spores to incidental exposures in users of illegal drugs have highlighted the importance of developing new medical countermeasures to protect people who have been exposed to “anthrax spores” and are at risk of developing disease. The New Zealand White rabbit (NZWR) is a well-characterized model that has a pathogenesis and clinical presentation similar to those seen in humans. This article reports how the NZWR model was adapted to evaluate postexposure prophylaxis using a recombinant protective antigen (rPA) vaccine in combination with an oral antibiotic, levofloxacin. NZWRs were exposed to multiples of the 50% lethal dose (LD50) of B. anthracis spores and then vaccinated immediately (day 0) and again on day 7 postexposure. Levofloxacin was administered daily beginning at 6 to 12 h postexposure for 7 treatments. Rabbits were evaluated for clinical signs of disease, fever, bacteremia, immune response, and survival. A robust immune response (IgG anti-rPA and toxin-neutralizing antibodies) was observed in all vaccinated groups on days 10 to 12. Levofloxacin plus either 30 or 100 μg rPA vaccine resulted in a 100% survival rate (18 of 18 per group), and a vaccine dose as low as 10 μg rPA resulted in an 89% survival rate (16 of 18) when used in combination with levofloxacin. In NZWRs that received antibiotic alone, the survival rate was 56% (10 of 18). There was no adverse effect on the development of a specific IgG response to rPA in unchallenged NZWRs that received the combination treatment of vaccine plus antibiotic. This study demonstrated that an accelerated two-dose regimen of rPA vaccine coadministered on days 0 and 7 with 7 days of levofloxacin therapy results in a significantly greater survival rate than with antibiotic treatment alone. Combination of vaccine administration and antibiotic treatment may be an effective strategy for treating a population exposed to aerosolized B. anthracis spores.
PMCID: PMC3416090  PMID: 22695155
4.  Anti-toxin antibodies in prophylaxis and treatment of inhalation anthrax 
Future microbiology  2009;4:35-43.
The CDC recommend 60 days of oral antibiotics combined with a three-dose series of the anthrax vaccine for prophylaxis after potential exposure to aerosolized Bacillus anthracis spores. The anthrax vaccine is currently not licensed for anthrax postexposure prophylaxis and has to be made available under an Investigational New Drug protocol. Postexposure prophylaxis based on antibiotics can be problematic in cases where the use of antibiotics is contraindicated. Furthermore, there is a concern that an exposure could involve antibiotic-resistant strains of B. anthracis. Availability of alternate treatment modalities that are effective in prophylaxis of inhalation anthrax is therefore highly desirable. A major research focus toward this end has been on passive immunization using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies against B. anthracis toxin components. Since 2001, significant progress has been made in isolation and commercial development of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies that function as potent neutralizers of anthrax lethal toxin in both a prophylactic and therapeutic setting. Several new products have completed Phase I clinical trials and are slated for addition to the National Strategic Stockpile. These rapid advances were possible because of major funding made available by the US government through programs such as Bioshield and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Continued government funding is critical to support the development of a robust biodefense industry.
PMCID: PMC2710805  PMID: 19207098
antibiotic treatment; biodefense funding; inhalation anthrax; lethal factor; medical countermeasures; prophylactic antibodies; protective antigen; vaccination
5.  Evaluation of Immunogenicity and Efficacy of Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed for Postexposure Prophylaxis 
Antimicrobials administered postexposure can reduce the incidence or progression of anthrax disease, but they do not protect against the disease resulting from the germination of spores that may remain in the body after cessation of the antimicrobial regimen. Such additional protection may be achieved by postexposure vaccination; however, no anthrax vaccine is licensed for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). In a rabbit PEP study, animals were subjected to lethal challenge with aerosolized Bacillus anthracis spores and then were treated with levofloxacin with or without concomitant intramuscular (i.m.) vaccination with anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) (BioThrax; Emergent BioDefense Operations Lansing LLC, Lansing, MI), administered twice, 1 week apart. A significant increase in survival rates was observed among vaccinated animals compared to those treated with antibiotic alone. In preexposure prophylaxis studies in rabbits and nonhuman primates (NHPs), animals received two i.m. vaccinations 1 month apart and were challenged with aerosolized anthrax spores at day 70. Prechallenge toxin-neutralizing antibody (TNA) titers correlated with animal survival postchallenge and provided the means for deriving an antibody titer associated with a specific probability of survival in animals. In a clinical immunogenicity study, 82% of the subjects met or exceeded the prechallenge TNA value that was associated with a 70% probability of survival in rabbits and 88% probability of survival in NHPs, which was estimated based on the results of animal preexposure prophylaxis studies. The animal data provide initial information on protective antibody levels for anthrax, as well as support previous findings regarding the ability of AVA to provide added protection to B. anthracis-infected animals compared to antimicrobial treatment alone.
PMCID: PMC3697458  PMID: 23658392
6.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Expert Panel Meetings on Prevention and Treatment of Anthrax in Adults 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(2):e130687.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened panels of anthrax experts to review and update guidelines for anthrax postexposure prophylaxis and treatment. The panels included civilian and military anthrax experts and clinicians with experience treating anthrax patients. Specialties represented included internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, infectious disease, emergency medicine, critical care, pulmonology, hematology, and nephrology. Panelists discussed recent patients with systemic anthrax; reviews of published, unpublished, and proprietary data regarding antimicrobial drugs and anthrax antitoxins; and critical care measures of potential benefit to patients with anthrax. This article updates antimicrobial postexposure prophylaxis and antimicrobial and antitoxin treatment options and describes potentially beneficial critical care measures for persons with anthrax, including clinical procedures for infected nonpregnant adults. Changes from previous guidelines include an expanded discussion of critical care and clinical procedures and additional antimicrobial choices, including preferred antimicrobial drug treatment for possible anthrax meningitis.
PMCID: PMC3901462  PMID: 24447897
anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; bacteria; bioterrorism and preparedness; antitoxin; raxibacumab; expert panel meeting; prevention; treatment; adults; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
7.  Adverse Events Associated with Prolonged Antibiotic Use 
The Infectious Diseases Society of America and US CDC recommend 60 days of ciprofloxacin, doxycycline or amoxicillin for anthrax prophylaxis. It is not possible to determine severe adverse drug event (ADE) risks from the few people thus far exposed to anthrax prophylaxis. This study’s objective was to estimate risks of severe ADEs associated with long-term ciprofloxacin, doxycycline and amoxicillin exposure using 3 large databases: one electronic medical record (General Practice Research Database) and two claims databases (UnitedHealthcare, HMO Research Network).
We include office visit, hospital admission and prescription data for 1/1/1999–6/30/2001. Exposure variable was oral antibiotic person-days (pds). Primary outcome was hospitalization during exposure with ADE diagnoses: anaphylaxis, phototoxicity, hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, seizures, ventricular arrhythmia or infectious colitis.
We randomly sampled 999,773, 1,047,496 and 1,819,004 patients from Databases A, B and C respectively. 33,183 amoxicillin, 15,250 ciprofloxacin and 50,171 doxycycline prescriptions continued ≥30 days. ADE hospitalizations during long-term exposure were not observed in Database A. ADEs during long-term amoxicillin were seen only in Database C with 5 ADEs or 1.2(0.4–2.7) ADEs/100,000 pds exposure. Long-term ciprofloxacin showed 3 and 4 ADEs with 5.7(1.2–16.6) and 3.5(1.0–9.0) ADEs/100,000 pds in Databases B and C, respectively. Only Database B had ADEs during long-term doxycycline with 3 ADEs or 0.9(0.2–2.6) ADEs/100,000 pds. For most events, the incidence rate ratio, comparing >28 vs.1–28 pds exposure was <1, showing limited evidence for cumulative dose-related ADEs from long-term exposure.
Long-term amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin and doxycycline appears safe, supporting use of these medications if needed for large-scale post-exposure anthrax prophylaxis.
PMCID: PMC4269235  PMID: 18215001
Anti-infective agents; Anthrax prevention and control; Health services research; Databases; Bioterrorism
8.  Epidemiologic Investigations of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, New Jersey, 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1048-1055.
At least four Bacillus anthracis–containing envelopes destined for New York City and Washington, D.C., were processed at the Trenton Processing and Distribution Center (PDC) on September 18 and October 9, 2001. When cutaneous anthrax was confirmed in a Trenton postal worker, the PDC was closed. Four cutaneous and two inhalational anthrax cases were identified. Five patients were hospitalized; none died. Four were PDC employees; the others handled or received mail processed there. Onset dates occurred in two clusters following envelope processing at the PDC. The attack rate among the 170 employees present when the B. anthracis–containing letters were sorted on October 9 was 1.2%. Of 137 PDC environmental samples, 57 (42%) were positive. Five (10%) of 50 local post offices each yielded one positive sample. Cutaneous or inhalational anthrax developed in four postal employees at a facility where B. anthracis–containing letters were processed. Cross-contaminated mail or equipment was the likely source of infection in two other case-patients with cutaneous anthrax.
PMCID: PMC2730296  PMID: 12396914
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; bioterrorism
9.  Cost-Effectiveness Comparison of Response Strategies to a Large-Scale Anthrax Attack on the Chicago Metropolitan Area: Impact of Timing and Surge Capacity 
Rapid public health response to a large-scale anthrax attack would reduce overall morbidity and mortality. However, there is uncertainty about the optimal cost-effective response strategy based on timing of intervention, public health resources, and critical care facilities. We conducted a decision analytic study to compare response strategies to a theoretical large-scale anthrax attack on the Chicago metropolitan area beginning either Day 2 or Day 5 after the attack. These strategies correspond to the policy options set forth by the Anthrax Modeling Working Group for population-wide responses to a large-scale anthrax attack: (1) postattack antibiotic prophylaxis, (2) postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination, (3) preattack vaccination with postattack antibiotic prophylaxis, and (4) preattack vaccination with postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination. Outcomes were measured in costs, lives saved, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). We estimated that postattack antibiotic prophylaxis of all 1,390,000 anthrax-exposed people beginning on Day 2 after attack would result in 205,835 infected victims, 35,049 fulminant victims, and 28,612 deaths. Only 6,437 (18.5%) of the fulminant victims could be saved with the existing critical care facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area. Mortality would increase to 69,136 if the response strategy began on Day 5. Including postattack vaccination with antibiotic prophylaxis of all exposed people reduces mortality and is cost-effective for both Day 2 (ICER=$182/QALY) and Day 5 (ICER=$1,088/QALY) response strategies. Increasing ICU bed availability significantly reduces mortality for all response strategies. We conclude that postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination of all exposed people is the optimal cost-effective response strategy for a large-scale anthrax attack. Our findings support the US government's plan to provide antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination for all exposed people within 48 hours of the recognition of a large-scale anthrax attack. Future policies should consider expanding critical care capacity to allow for the rescue of more victims.
Rapid public health response to a large-scale anthrax attack would reduce overall morbidity and mortality, but what is the optimal cost-effective response strategy for timing of intervention, public health resources, and critical care facilities? Using a hypothetical large-scale anthrax attack on the Chicago metropolitan area, this study compared response strategies that would begin either 2 days or 5 days after the attack and would consist of administering prophylaxis and vaccine in various combinations. The findings support the government's plan to provide antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination for all exposed people within 48 hours of the recognition of a large-scale anthrax attack.
PMCID: PMC3440066  PMID: 22845046
10.  Efficacy and Safety of AVP-21D9, an Anthrax Monoclonal Antibody, in Animal Models and Humans 
Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Timely administration of antibiotics approved for the treatment of anthrax disease may prevent associated morbidity and mortality. However, any delay in initiating antimicrobial therapy may result in increased mortality, as inhalational anthrax progresses rapidly to the toxemic phase of disease. An anthrax antitoxin, AVP-21D9, also known as Thravixa (fully human anthrax monoclonal antibody), is being developed as a therapeutic agent against anthrax toxemia. The efficacy of AVP-21D9 in B. anthracis-infected New Zealand White rabbits and in cynomolgus macaques was evaluated, and its safety and pharmacokinetics were assessed in healthy human volunteers. The estimated mean elimination half-life values of AVP-21D9 in surviving anthrax-challenged rabbits and nonhuman primates (NHPs) ranged from approximately 2 to 4 days and 6 to 11 days, respectively. In healthy humans, the mean elimination half-life was in the range of 20 to 27 days. Dose proportionality was observed for the maximum serum concentration (Cmax) of AVP-21D9 and the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC). In therapeutic efficacy animal models, treatment with AVP-21D9 resulted in survival of up to 92% of the rabbits and up to 67% of the macaques. Single infusions of AVP-21D9 were well tolerated in healthy adult volunteers across all doses evaluated, and no serious adverse events were reported. (This study has been registered at under registration no. NCT01202695.)
PMCID: PMC4068543  PMID: 24733473
11.  The Anthrax Vaccine and Research: Reactions from Postal Workers and Public Health Professionals 
During the 2001 anthrax attacks, public health agencies faced operational and communication decisions about the use of antibiotic prophylaxis and the anthrax vaccine with affected groups, including postal workers. This communication occurred within an evolving situation with incomplete and uncertain data. Guidelines for prophylactic antibiotics changed several times, contributing to confusion and mistrust. At the end of 60 days of taking antibiotics, people were offered an additional 40 days' supply of antibiotics, with or without the anthrax vaccine, the former constituting an investigational new drug protocol. Using data from interviews and focus groups with 65 postal workers in 3 sites and structured interviews with 16 public health professionals, this article examines the challenges for public health professionals who were responsible for communication with postal workers about the vaccine. Multiple factors affected the response, including a lack of trust, risk perception, disagreement about the recommendation, and the controversy over the military's use of the vaccine. Some postal workers reacted with suspicion to the vaccine offer, believing that they were the subjects of research, and some African American workers specifically drew an analogy to the Tuskegee syphilis study. The consent forms required for the protocol heightened mistrust. Postal workers also had complex and ambivalent responses to additional research on their health. The anthrax attacks present us with an opportunity to understand the challenges of communication in the context of uncertain science and suggest key strategies that may improve communications about vaccines and other drugs authorized for experimental use in future public health emergencies.
PMCID: PMC2963592  PMID: 19117431
12.  First Case of Bioterrorism-Related Inhalational Anthrax in the United States, Palm Beach County, Florida, 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1029-1034.
On October 4, 2001, we confirmed the first bioterrorism-related anthrax case identified in the United States in a resident of Palm Beach County, Florida. Epidemiologic investigation indicated that exposure occurred at the workplace through intentionally contaminated mail. One additional case of inhalational anthrax was identified from the index patient’s workplace. Among 1,076 nasal cultures performed to assess exposure, Bacillus anthracis was isolated from a co-worker later confirmed as being infected, as well as from an asymptomatic mail-handler in the same workplace. Environmental cultures for B. anthracis showed contamination at the workplace and six county postal facilities. Environmental and nasal swab cultures were useful epidemiologic tools that helped direct the investigation towards the infection source and transmission vehicle. We identified 1,114 persons at risk and offered antimicrobial prophylaxis.
PMCID: PMC2730309  PMID: 12396910
Anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; bioterrorism; nasal swab cultures; environmental cultures
13.  Efficacy of Oritavancin in a Murine Model of Bacillus anthracis Spore Inhalation Anthrax ▿  
The inhaled form of Bacillus anthracis infection may be fatal to humans. The current standard of care for inhalational anthrax postexposure prophylaxis is ciprofloxacin therapy twice daily for 60 days. The potent in vitro activity of oritavancin, a semisynthetic lipoglycopeptide, against B. anthracis (MIC against Ames strain, 0.015 μg/ml) prompted us to test its efficacy in a mouse aerosol-anthrax model. In postexposure prophylaxis dose-ranging studies, a single intravenous (i.v.) dose of oritavancin of 5, 15, or 50 mg/kg 24 h after a challenge with 50 to 75 times the median lethal dose of Ames strain spores provided 40, 70, and 100% proportional survival, respectively, at 30 days postchallenge. Untreated animals died within 4 days of challenge, whereas 90% of control animals receiving ciprofloxacin at 30 mg/kg intraperitoneally twice daily for 14 days starting 24 h after challenge survived. Oritavancin demonstrated significant activity post symptom development; a single i.v. dose of 50 mg/kg administered 42 h after challenge provided 56% proportional survival at 30 days. In a preexposure prophylaxis study, a single i.v. oritavancin dose of 50 mg/kg administered 1, 7, 14, or 28 days before lethal challenge protected 90, 100, 100, and 20% of mice at 30 days; mice treated with ciprofloxacin 24 h or 24 and 12 h before challenge all died within 5 days. Efficacy in pre- and postexposure models of inhalation anthrax, together with a demonstrated low propensity to engender resistance, promotes further study of oritavancin pharmacokinetics and efficacy in nonhuman primate models.
PMCID: PMC2533456  PMID: 18606841
14.  Adherence to Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for HIV Prevention: A Substudy Cohort within a Clinical Trial of Serodiscordant Couples in East Africa 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001511.
Jessica Haberer and colleagues investigate the association between high adherence to antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis and HIV transmission in a substudy of serodiscordant couples participating in a clinical trial.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Randomized clinical trials of oral antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention have widely divergent efficacy estimates, ranging from 0% to 75%. These discrepancies are likely due to differences in adherence. To our knowledge, no studies to date have examined the impact of improving adherence through monitoring and/or intervention, which may increase PrEP efficacy, or reported on objective behavioral measures of adherence, which can inform PrEP effectiveness and implementation.
Methods and Findings
Within the Partners PrEP Study (a randomized placebo-controlled trial of oral tenofovir and emtricitabine/tenofovir among HIV-uninfected members of serodiscordant couples in Kenya and Uganda), we collected objective measures of PrEP adherence using unannounced home-based pill counts and electronic pill bottle monitoring. Participants received individual and couples-based adherence counseling at PrEP initiation and throughout the study; counseling was intensified if unannounced pill count adherence fell to <80%. Participants were followed monthly to provide study medication, adherence counseling, and HIV testing. A total of 1,147 HIV-uninfected participants were enrolled: 53% were male, median age was 34 years, and median partnership duration was 8.5 years. Fourteen HIV infections occurred among adherence study participants—all of whom were assigned to placebo (PrEP efficacy = 100%, 95% confidence interval 83.7%–100%, p<0.001). Median adherence was 99.1% (interquartile range [IQR] 96.9%–100%) by unannounced pill counts and 97.2% (90.6%–100%) by electronic monitoring over 807 person-years. Report of no sex or sex with another person besides the study partner, younger age, and heavy alcohol use were associated with <80% adherence; the first 6 months of PrEP use and polygamous marriage were associated with >80% adherence. Study limitations include potential shortcomings of the adherence measures and use of a convenience sample within the substudy cohort.
The high PrEP adherence achieved in the setting of active adherence monitoring and counseling support was associated with a high degree of protection from HIV acquisition by the HIV-uninfected partner in heterosexual serodiscordant couples. Low PrEP adherence was associated with sexual behavior, alcohol use, younger age, and length of PrEP use.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, about 2.5 million people (mostly living in sub-Saharan Africa) become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV, which is usually transmitted through unprotected sex with an HIV-infected partner, destroys immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. There is no cure for AIDS, although antiretroviral drugs can hold HIV in check, and there is no vaccine against HIV infection. Individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by having only one or a few low risk sexual partners, and by always using a condom. In addition, antiretroviral drugs can potentially be used in two ways to reduce HIV transmission. First, these drugs could be given to HIV-positive individuals to reduce their infectiousness. Second, antiretroviral drugs could be given to HIV-uninfected people to reduce acquisition of the virus. This approach—pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—has provided varying levels of protection against HIV infection in randomized controlled trials (RCT; studies that monitor the outcomes of groups of patients randomly assigned to receive different test drugs or a placebo/dummy drug).
Why Was This Study Done?
One hypothesis for the varying efficacy of PrEP in RCTs is differential adherence—differences in whether trial participants took the antiretroviral drugs correctly. Antiretroviral drugs only control HIV infections effectively when they are taken regularly and adherence to antiretroviral PrEP is probably also important for HIV prevention. Here, the researchers investigate adherence to antiretroviral prophylaxis in a substudy within the Partners PrEP Study, a placebo-controlled RCT of oral antiretroviral drugs among nearly 5,000 HIV-uninfected members of serodiscordant couples in East Africa. In serodiscordant couples, only one partner is HIV-positive; 20% of couples in Africa who know their HIV status are serodiscordant. In the Partner PrEP Study, the efficacy of HIV protection with oral antiretroviral drugs was 67%–75%.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers selected a “convenience” sample—a sample is taken non-randomly from a population that is close at hand—of 1,147 HIV-uninfected partners enrolled in Uganda. They used unannounced home-based pill counts (an approach that reduced the chance of participants dumping unused pills to appear more adherent than they actually were) and electronic pill bottle monitoring (a microchip in the medication bottle cap recorded whenever the bottle was opened) to measure PrEP adherence in this cohort. All the participants received adherence counseling at PrEP initiation and throughout the study; counseling was intensified if unannounced pill count adherence fell below 80%. Fourteen participants, all of whom had been assigned to placebo, became HIV-positive during the adherence substudy. The average adherence to PrEP was 99.1% and 97.2% as measured by unannounced pill counts and by electronic monitoring, respectively. About 7% and 26% of participants had less than 80% adherence as measured by unannounced pill count and electronic monitoring, respectively, during at least one 3-month period of the substudy. Greater than 80% adherence was associated with the first 6 months of PrEP use and polygamous marriage. Adherence less than 80% was associated with report of no sex or sex with another person besides the study partner, younger age, and heavy alcohol use. Finally, the adherence intervention (intensified counseling) was well received and in the first unannounced pill count after the intervention, adherence increased to above 80% in 92% of participants.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the high level of PrEP adherence achieved in the setting of active adherence monitoring and counseling support was associated with a high level of protection from HIV acquisition by the HIV-uninfected partner in heterosexual serodiscordant couples. The findings also suggest that low PrEP adherence is associated with sexual behavior, alcohol use, younger age, and length of PrEP use. Several aspects of the study design may limit the accuracy of these findings. For example, although the adherence measures used here are probably more accurate than participant reports of missed doses and clinic-based pill counts (adherence measures that are often used in RCTs), they are not perfect. Nevertheless, these findings provide further support for the ability of PrEP to prevent HIV acquisition when taken regularly; they suggest that adherence interventions in the implementation setting should address sexual behavior, risk perception, and heavy alcohol use; and they provide data to guide ethical decisions about resource allocation for prevention and treatment of HIV infection.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The 2012 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on HIV transmission and prevention and on PrEP
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in Uganda, on HIV prevention, and on PrEP (in English and Spanish)
PrEP Watch provides detailed information about PrEP and links to other resources; it includes personal stories from people who have chosen to use PrEP
More information about the Partners PrEP Study is available
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through Nam/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
PMCID: PMC3769210  PMID: 24058300
15.  Inhalational Anthrax Outbreak among Postal Workers, Washington, D.C., 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1066-1072.
In October 2001, four cases of inhalational anthrax occurred in workers in a Washington, D.C., mail facility that processed envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores. We reviewed the envelopes’ paths and obtained exposure histories and nasal swab cultures from postal workers. Environmental sampling was performed. A sample of employees was assessed for antibody concentrations to B. anthracis protective antigen. Case-patients worked on nonoverlapping shifts throughout the facility. Environmental sampling showed diffuse contamination of the facility, suggesting multiple aerosolization events. Potential workplace exposures were similar for the case-patients and the sample of workers. All nasal swab cultures and serum antibody tests were negative. Available tools could not identify subgroups of employees at higher risk for exposure or disease. Prophylaxis was necessary for all employees. To protect postal workers against bioterrorism, measures to reduce the risk of occupational exposure are necessary.
PMCID: PMC2730301  PMID: 12396917
bioterrorism; Bacillus anthracis; postal facility; inhalational anthrax
16.  Isolated Case of Bioterrorism-related Inhalational Anthrax, New York City, 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(6):689-696.
On October 31, 2001, in New York City, a 61-year-old female hospital employee who had acquired inhalational anthrax died after a 6-day illness. To determine sources of exposure and identify additional persons at risk, the New York City Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and law enforcement authorities conducted an extensive investigation, which included interviewing contacts, examining personal effects, summarizing patient’s use of mass transit, conducting active case finding and surveillance near her residence and at her workplace, and collecting samples from co-workers and the environment. We cultured all specimens for Bacillus anthracis. We found no additional cases of cutaneous or inhalational anthrax. The route of exposure remains unknown. All environmental samples were negative for B. anthracis. This first case of inhalational anthrax during the 2001 outbreak with no apparent direct link to contaminated mail emphasizes the need for close coordination between public health and law enforcement agencies during bioterrorism-related investigations.
PMCID: PMC3000144  PMID: 12781008
B. anthracis; inhalational anthrax; bioterrorism; research
17.  Effective Antimicrobial Regimens for Use in Humans for Therapy of Bacillus anthracis Infections and Postexposure Prophylaxis†  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2005;49(12):5099-5106.
Expanded options for treatments directed against pathogens that can be used for bioterrorism are urgently needed. Treatment regimens directed against such pathogens can be identified only by using data derived from in vitro and animal studies. It is crucial that these studies reliably predict the efficacy of proposed treatments in humans. The objective of this study was to identify a levofloxacin treatment regimen that will serve as an effective therapy for Bacillus anthracis infections and postexposure prophylaxis. An in vitro hollow-fiber infection model that replicates the pharmacokinetic profile of levofloxacin observed in humans (half-life [t1/2], 7.5 h) or in animals, such as the mouse or the rhesus monkey (t1/2, ∼2 h), was used to evaluate a proposed indication for levofloxacin (500 mg once daily) for the treatment of Bacillus anthracis infections. The results obtained with the in vitro model served as the basis for the doses and the dose schedules that were evaluated in the mouse inhalational anthrax model. The effects of levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin treatment were compared to those of no treatment (untreated controls). The main outcome measure in the in vitro hollow-fiber infection model was a persistent reduction of culture density (≥4 log10 reduction) and prevention of the emergence of levofloxacin-resistant organisms. In the mouse inhalational anthrax model the main outcome measure was survival. The results indicated that levofloxacin given once daily with simulated human pharmacokinetics effectively sterilized Bacillus anthracis cultures. By using a simulated animal pharmacokinetic profile, a once-daily dosing regimen that provided a human-equivalent exposure failed to sterilize the cultures. Dosing regimens that “partially humanized” levofloxacin exposures within the constraints of animal pharmacokinetics reproduced the antimicrobial efficacy seen with human pharmacokinetics. In a mouse inhalational anthrax model, once-daily dosing was significantly inferior (survival end point) to regimens of dosing every 12 h or every 6 h with identical total daily levofloxacin doses. These results demonstrate the predictive value of the in vitro hollow-fiber infection model with respect to the success or the failure of treatment regimens in animals. Furthermore, the model permits the evaluation of treatment regimens that “humanize” antibiotic exposures in animal models, enhancing the confidence with which animal models may be used to reliably predict the efficacies of proposed antibiotic treatments in humans in situations (e.g., the release of pathogens as agents of bioterrorism or emerging infectious diseases) where human trials cannot be performed. A treatment regimen effective in rhesus monkeys was identified.
PMCID: PMC1315931  PMID: 16304178
18.  Prophylaxis after Exposure to Coxiella burnetii 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(10):1558-1566.
Postexposure prophylaxis may avert Q fever illness and death when the probability of exposure is above the population-specific threshold point.
Coxiella burnetii is a category B bioterrorism agent. We numerically evaluated the risks and benefits from postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) after an intentional release of C. burnetii to the general population, pregnant women, and other high-risk populations. For each group, we constructed a decision tree to estimate illness and deaths averted by use of PEP/100,000 population. We calculated the threshold points at which the number of PEP-related adverse events was equal to the cases averted. PEP was defined as doxycycline (100 mg 2×/day for 5 days), except for pregnant women, where we assumed a PEP of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (160 mg/800 mg 2×/day) for the duration of the pregnancy. PEP would begin 8–12 days postexposure. On the basis of upper-bound probability estimates of PEP-related adverse events for doxycycline, we concluded that the risk for Q fever illness outweighs the risk for antimicrobial drug–related adverse events when the probability of C. burnetii exposure is >7% (pregnant women using trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole = 16%).
PMCID: PMC2609859  PMID: 18826819
Coxiella burnetti; Q fever; prophylaxis; risk-benefit assessment; pregnant women; research
19.  Anthrax vaccination strategies 
Molecular aspects of medicine  2009;30(6):490-502.
The biological attack conducted through the U.S. postal system in 2001 broadened the threat posed by anthrax from one pertinent mainly to soldiers on the battlefield to one understood to exist throughout our society. The expansion of the threatened population placed greater emphasis on the reexamination of how we vaccinate against Bacillus anthracis. The currently-licensed Anthrax Vaccine, Adsorbed (AVA) and Anthrax Vaccine, Precipitated (AVP) are capable of generating a protective immune response but are hampered by shortcomings that make their widespread use undesirable or infeasible. Efforts to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for licensure of a second generation recombinant protective antigen (rPA)-based anthrax vaccine are ongoing. However, this vaccine's reliance on the generation of a humoral immune response against a single virulence factor has led a number of scientists to conclude that the vaccine is likely not the final solution to optimal anthrax vaccine design. Other vaccine approaches, which seek a more comprehensive immune response targeted at multiple components of the B. anthracis organism, are under active investigation. This review seeks to summarize work that has been done to build on the current PA-based vaccine methodology and to evaluate the search for future anthrax prophylaxis strategies.
PMCID: PMC2783700  PMID: 19729034
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; vaccine
20.  Antibiotics Cure Anthrax in Animal Models▿  
Respiratory anthrax, in the absence of early antibiotic treatment, is a fatal disease. This study aimed to test the efficiency of antibiotic therapy in curing infected animals and those sick with anthrax. Postexposure prophylaxis (24 h postinfection [p.i.]) of guinea pigs infected intranasally with Bacillus anthracis Vollum spores with doxycycline, ofloxacin, imipenem, and gentamicin conferred protection. However, upon termination of treatment, the animals died from respiratory anthrax. Combined treatment with antibiotics and active vaccination with a protective antigen-based vaccine leads to full protection even after cessation of treatment. Delaying the initiation of antibiotic administration to over 24 h p.i. resulted in treatment of animals with anthrax exhibiting various degrees of bacteremia and toxemia. Treatment with doxycycline or ciprofloxacin cured sick guinea pigs and rabbits exhibiting bacteremia levels up to 105 CFU/ml. Addition of anti-protective antigen (PA) antibodies augmented the efficiency of protection, allowing the cure of guinea pigs and rabbits with 10- to 20-fold-higher bacteremia levels, up to 7 × 105 CFU/ml and 2 × 106 CFU/ml, respectively. Treatment with ciprofloxacin and a monoclonal anti-PA antibody rescued rabbits with bacteremia levels up to 4 × 106 CFU/ml. During antibiotic administration, all surviving animals developed a protective immune response against development of a fatal disease and subcutaneous challenge with Vollum spores. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that antibiotic treatment can prevent the development of fatal disease in respiratory-anthrax-infected animals and can cure animals after disease establishment. A therapeutic time window of 40 h to 48 h from infection to initiation of efficient antibiotic-mediated cure was observed.
PMCID: PMC3067169  PMID: 21263056
21.  Large-Scale Screening of Nasal Swabs for Bacillus anthracis: Descriptive Summary and Discussion of the National Institutes of Health's Experience 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2002;40(8):3012-3016.
In October 2001, a letter containing a large number of anthrax spores was sent through the Brentwood post office in Washington, D.C., to a United States Senate office on Capitol Hill, resulting in contamination in both places. Several thousand people who worked at these sites were screened for spore exposure by collecting nasal swab samples. We describe here a screening protocol which we, as a level A laboratory, used on very short notice to process a large number of specimens (3,936 swabs) in order to report preliminary results as quickly as possible. Six isolates from our screening met preliminary criteria for Bacillus anthracis identification and were referred for definitive testing. Although none of the isolates was later confirmed to be B. anthracis, we studied these isolates further to define their biochemical characteristics and 16S rRNA sequences. Four of the six isolates were identified as Bacillus megaterium, one was identified as Bacillus cereus, and one was an unidentifiable Bacillus sp. Our results suggest that large-scale nasal-swab screening for potential exposure to anthrax spores, particularly if not done immediately postexposure, may not be very effective for detecting B. anthracis but may detect a number of Bacillus spp. that are phenotypically very similar to B. anthracis.
PMCID: PMC120640  PMID: 12149367
22.  Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Objectives To update a 2005 Cochrane review that assessed the effects of neuraminidase inhibitors in preventing or ameliorating the symptoms of influenza, the transmission of influenza, and complications from influenza in healthy adults, and to estimate the frequency of adverse effects.
Search strategy An updated search of the Cochrane central register of controlled trials (Cochrane Library 2009, issue 2), which contains the Acute Respiratory Infections Group’s specialised register, Medline (1950-Aug 2009), Embase (1980-Aug 2009), and post-marketing pharmacovigilance data and comparative safety cohorts.
Selection criteria Randomised placebo controlled studies of neuraminidase inhibitors in otherwise healthy adults exposed to naturally occurring influenza.
Main outcome measures Duration and incidence of symptoms; incidence of lower respiratory tract infections, or their proxies; and adverse events.
Data extraction Two reviewers applied inclusion criteria, assessed trial quality, and extracted data.
Data analysis Comparisons were structured into prophylaxis, treatment, and adverse events, with further subdivision by outcome and dose.
Results 20 trials were included: four on prophylaxis, 12 on treatment, and four on postexposure prophylaxis. For prophylaxis, neuraminidase inhibitors had no effect against influenza-like illness or asymptomatic influenza. The efficacy of oral oseltamivir against symptomatic laboratory confirmed influenza was 61% (risk ratio 0.39, 95% confidence interval 0.18 to 0.85) at 75 mg daily and 73% (0.27, 0.11 to 0.67) at 150 mg daily. Inhaled zanamivir 10 mg daily was 62% efficacious (0.38, 0.17 to 0.85). Oseltamivir for postexposure prophylaxis had an efficacy of 58% (95% confidence interval 15% to 79%) and 84% (49% to 95%) in two trials of households. Zanamivir performed similarly. The hazard ratios for time to alleviation of influenza-like illness symptoms were in favour of treatment: 1.20 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.35) for oseltamivir and 1.24 (1.13 to 1.36) for zanamivir. Eight unpublished studies on complications were ineligible and therefore excluded. The remaining evidence suggests oseltamivir did not reduce influenza related lower respiratory tract complications (risk ratio 0.55, 95% confidence interval 0.22 to 1.35). From trial evidence, oseltamivir induced nausea (odds ratio 1.79, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 2.93). Evidence of rarer adverse events from pharmacovigilance was of poor quality or possibly under-reported.
Conclusion Neuraminidase inhibitors have modest effectiveness against the symptoms of influenza in otherwise healthy adults. The drugs are effective postexposure against laboratory confirmed influenza, but this is a small component of influenza-like illness, so for this outcome neuraminidase inhibitors are not effective. Neuraminidase inhibitors might be regarded as optional for reducing the symptoms of seasonal influenza. Paucity of good data has undermined previous findings for oseltamivir’s prevention of complications from influenza. Independent randomised trials to resolve these uncertainties are needed.
PMCID: PMC2790574  PMID: 19995812
23.  Airborne Infection with Bacillus anthracis—from Mills to Mail 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(6):996-1001.
The lack of identified exposures in 2 of the 11 cases of bioterrorism-related inhalation anthrax in 2001 raised uncertainty about the infectious dose and transmission of Bacillus anthracis. We used the Wells-Riley mathematical model of airborne infection to estimate 1) the exposure concentrations in postal facilities where cases of inhalation anthrax occurred and 2) the risk for infection in various hypothetical scenarios of exposure to B. anthracis aerosolized from contaminated mail in residential settings. These models suggest that a small number of cases of inhalation anthrax can be expected when large numbers of persons are exposed to low concentrations of B. anthracis. The risk for inhalation anthrax is determined not only by bacillary virulence factors but also by infectious aerosol production and removal rates and by host factors.
PMCID: PMC3323150  PMID: 15207048
Anthrax; Air microbiology; Infection; Risk; Inhalation exposure; Lethal Dose 50; Ventilation
24.  Patients' request for and emergency physicians' prescription of antimicrobial prophylaxis for anthrax during the 2001 bioterrorism-related outbreak 
BMC Public Health  2005;5:2.
Inappropriate use of antibiotics by individuals worried about biological agent exposures during bioterrorism events is an important public health concern. However, little is documented about the extent to which individuals with self-identified risk of anthrax exposure approached physicians for antimicrobial prophylaxis during the 2001 bioterrorism attacks in the United States.
We conducted a telephone survey of randomly selected members of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians to assess patients' request for and emergency physicians' prescription of antimicrobial agents during the 2001 anthrax attacks.
Ninety-seven physicians completed the survey. Sixty-four (66%) respondents had received requests from patients for anthrax prophylaxis; 16 (25%) of these physicians prescribed antibiotics to a total of 23 patients. Ten physicians prescribed ciprofloxacin while 8 physicians prescribed doxycycline.
During the 2001 bioterrorist attacks, the majority of the emergency physicians we surveyed encountered patients who requested anthrax prophylaxis. Public fears may lead to a high demand for antibiotic prophylaxis during bioterrorism events. Elucidation of the relationship between public health response to outbreaks and outcomes would yield insights to ease burden on frontline clinicians and guide strategies to control inappropriate antibiotic allocation during bioterrorist events.
PMCID: PMC546188  PMID: 15634353
25.  Surveillance for Anthrax Cases Associated with Contaminated Letters, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1073-1077.
In October 2001, two inhalational anthrax and four cutaneous anthrax cases, resulting from the processing of Bacillus anthracis–containing envelopes at a New Jersey mail facility, were identified. Subsequently, we initiated stimulated passive hospital-based and enhanced passive surveillance for anthrax-compatible syndromes. From October 24 to December 17, 2001, hospitals reported 240,160 visits and 7,109 intensive-care unit admissions in the surveillance area (population 6.7 million persons). Following a change to reporting criteria on November 8, the average of possible inhalational anthrax reports decreased 83% from 18 to 3 per day; the proportion of reports requiring follow-up increased from 37% (105/286) to 41% (47/116). Clinical follow-up was conducted on 214 of 464 possible inhalational anthrax patients and 98 possible cutaneous anthrax patients; 49 had additional laboratory testing. No additional cases were identified. To verify the limited scope of the outbreak, surveillance was essential, though labor-intensive. The flexibility of the system allowed interim evaluation, thus improving surveillance efficiency.
PMCID: PMC2730289  PMID: 12396918
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; surveillance; bioterrorism

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