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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.  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
3.  Bacillus anthracis Aerosolization Associated with a Contaminated Mail Sorting Machine 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1044-1047.
On October 12, 2001, two envelopes containing Bacillus anthracis spores passed through a sorting machine in a postal facility in Washington, D.C. When anthrax infection was identified in postal workers 9 days later, the facility was closed. To determine if exposure to airborne B. anthracis spores continued to occur, we performed air sampling around the contaminated sorter. One CFU of B. anthracis was isolated from 990 L of air sampled before the machine was activated. Six CFUs were isolated during machine activation and processing of clean dummy mail. These data indicate that an employee working near this machine might inhale approximately 30 B. anthracis-containing particles during an 8-h work shift. What risk this may have represented to postal workers is not known, but the risk is approximately 20-fold less than estimates of sub-5 micron B. anthracis-containing particles routinely inhaled by asymptomatic, unvaccinated workers in a goat-hair mill.
PMCID: PMC2730297  PMID: 12396913
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; risk assessment; occupational exposure
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Antimicrobial Postexposure Prophylaxis for Anthrax: Adverse Events and Adherence 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1124-1132.
We collected data during postexposure antimicrobial prophylaxis campaigns and from a prophylaxis program evaluation 60 days after start of antimicrobial prophylaxis involving persons from six U.S. sites where Bacillus anthracis exposures occurred. Adverse events associated with antimicrobial prophylaxis to prevent anthrax were commonly reported, but hospitalizations and serious adverse events as defined by Food and Drug Administration criteria were rare. Overall adherence during 60 days of antimicrobial prophylaxis was poor (44%), ranging from 21% of persons exposed in the Morgan postal facility in New York City to 64% of persons exposed at the Brentwood postal facility in Washington, D.C. Adherence was highest among participants in an investigational new drug protocol to receive additional antibiotics with or without anthrax vaccine—a likely surrogate for anthrax risk perception. Adherence of <60 days was not consistently associated with adverse events.
PMCID: PMC2730317  PMID: 12396927
Anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; antimicrobial prophylaxis; adverse events; adherence
7.  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
8.  Investigation of Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax, United States, 2001: Epidemiologic Findings 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1019-1028.
In October 2001, the first inhalational anthrax case in the United States since 1976 was identified in a media company worker in Florida. A national investigation was initiated to identify additional cases and determine possible exposures to Bacillus anthracis. Surveillance was enhanced through health-care facilities, laboratories, and other means to identify cases, which were defined as clinically compatible illness with laboratory-confirmed B. anthracis infection. From October 4 to November 20, 2001, 22 cases of anthrax (11 inhalational, 11 cutaneous) were identified; 5 of the inhalational cases were fatal. Twenty (91%) case-patients were either mail handlers or were exposed to worksites where contaminated mail was processed or received. B. anthracis isolates from four powder-containing envelopes, 17 specimens from patients, and 106 environmental samples were indistinguishable by molecular subtyping. Illness and death occurred not only at targeted worksites, but also along the path of mail and in other settings. Continued vigilance for cases is needed among health-care providers and members of the public health and law enforcement communities.
PMCID: PMC2730292  PMID: 12396909
9.  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
10.  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
11.  Human Monoclonal Anti-Protective Antigen Antibody Completely Protects Rabbits and Is Synergistic with Ciprofloxacin in Protecting Mice and Guinea Pigs against Inhalation Anthrax  
Infection and Immunity  2006;74(2):1016-1024.
Prevention of inhalation anthrax requires early and extended antibiotic therapy, and therefore, alternative treatment strategies are needed. We investigated whether a human monoclonal antibody (AVP-21D9) to protective antigen (PA) would protect mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits against anthrax. Control animals challenged with Bacillus anthracis Ames spores by the intranasal route died within 3 to 7 days. AVP-21D9 alone provided minimal protection against anthrax in the murine model, but its efficacy was notably better in guinea pigs. When Swiss-Webster mice, challenged with five 50% lethal doses (LD50s) of anthrax spores, were given a single 16.7-mg/kg of body weight AVP-21D9 antibody dose combined with ciprofloxacin (30 mg/kg/day for 6 days) 24 h after challenge, 100% of the mice were protected for more than 30 days, while ciprofloxacin or AVP-21D9 alone showed minimal protection. Similarly, when AVP-21D9 antibody (10 to 50 mg/kg) was combined with a low, nonprotective dose of ciprofloxacin (3.7 mg/kg/day) and administered to guinea pigs for 6 days, synergistic protection against anthrax was observed. In contrast, a single dose of AVP-21D9 antibody (1, 5, 10, or 20 mg/kg) but not 0.2 mg/kg alone completely protected rabbits against challenge with 100 LD50s of B. anthracis Ames spores, and 100% of the rabbits survived rechallenge. Further, administration of AVP-21D9 (10 mg/kg) to rabbits at 0, 6, and 12 h after challenge with anthrax spores resulted in 100% survival; however, delay of antibody treatment by 24 and 48 h reduced survival to 80% and 60%, respectively. Serological analysis of sera from various surviving animals 30 days postprimary infection showed development of a species-specific PA enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay antibody titer that correlated with protection against reinfection. Taken together, the effectiveness of human anti-PA antibody alone or in combination with low ciprofloxacin levels may provide the basis for an improved strategy for prophylaxis or treatment following inhalation anthrax infection.
PMCID: PMC1360364  PMID: 16428748
12.  Directly observed therapy for treating tuberculosis 
Tuberculosis (TB) requires at least six months of treatment. If treatment is incomplete, patients may not be cured and drug resistance may develop. Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) is a specific strategy, endorsed by the World Health Organization, to improve adherence by requiring health workers, community volunteers or family members to observe and record patients taking each dose.
To evaluate DOT compared to self-administered therapy in people on treatment for active TB or on prophylaxis to prevent active disease. We also compared the effects of different forms of DOT.
Search methods
We searched the following databases up to 13 January 2015: the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), published in the Cochrane Library; MEDLINE; EMBASE; LILACS and mRCT. We also checked article reference lists and contacted relevant researchers and organizations.
Selection criteria
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs comparing DOT with routine self-administration of treatment or prophylaxis at home.
Data collection and analysis
Two review authors independently assessed risk of bias of each included trial and extracted data. We compared interventions using risk ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). We used a random-effects model if meta-analysis was appropriate but heterogeneity present (I2 statistic = 50%). We assessed the quality of the evidence using the GRADE approach.
Main results
Eleven trials including 5662 participants met the inclusion criteria. DOT was performed by a range of people (nurses, community health workers, family members or former TB patients) in a variety of settings (clinic, the patient's home or the home of a community volunteer).
DOT versus self-administered
Six trials from South Africa, Thailand, Taiwan, Pakistan and Australia compared DOT with self-administered therapy for treatment. Trials included DOT at home by family members, community health workers (who were usually supervised); DOT at home by health staff; and DOT at health facilities. TB cure was low with self-administration across all studies (range 41% to 67%), and direct observation did not substantially improve this (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.27; five trials, 1645 participants, moderate quality evidence). In a subgroup analysis stratified by the frequency of contact between health services in the self-treatment arm, daily DOT may improve TB cure when compared to self-administered treatment where patients in the self-administered group only visited the clinic every month (RR 1.15, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.25; two trials, 900 participants); but with contact in the control becoming more frequent, this small effect was not apparent (every two weeks: RR 0.96, 95% CI 0.83 to 1.12; one trial, 497 participants; every week: RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.68 to 1.21; two trials, 248 participants).
Treatment completion showed a similar pattern, ranging from 59% to 78% in the self-treatment groups, and direct observation did not improve this (RR 1.07, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.19; six trials, 1839 participants, moderate quality evidence).
DOT at home versus DOT at health facility
In four trials that compared DOT at home by family members, or community health workers, with DOT by health workers at a health facility there was little or no difference in cure or treatment completion (cure: RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.18, four trials, 1556 participants, moderate quality evidence; treatment completion: RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.17, three trials, 1029 participants, moderate quality evidence).
DOT by family member versus DOT by community health worker
Two trials compared DOT at home by family members with DOT at home by community health workers. There was also little or no difference in cure or treatment completion (cure: RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.21; two trials, 1493 participants, moderate quality evidence; completion: RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.22; two trials, 1493 participants, low quality evidence).
Specific patient categories
A trial of 300 intravenous drug users in the USA evaluated direct observation with no observation in TB prophylaxis to prevent active disease and showed little difference in treatment completion (RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.88 to 1.13; one trial, 300 participants, low quality evidence).
Authors' conclusions
From the existing trials, DOT did not provide a solution to poor adherence in TB treatment. Given the large resource and cost implications of DOT, policy makers might want to reconsider strategies that depend on direct observation. Other options might take into account financial and logistical barriers to care; approaches that motivate patients and staff; and defaulter follow-up.
Directly observing people with TB take their drugs to help them complete their treatment
This Cochrane Review summarises trials evaluating the effects of directly observed therapy (DOT) for treating people with tuberculosis (TB) or people on prophylaxis to prevent active disease compared to self-administered treatment. After searching for relevant trials up to 13 January 2015, we included 11 randomized controlled trials, enrolling 5662 people with TB, and conducted between 1995 and 2008.
What is DOT and how might it improve treatment outcomes for people with TB
DOT is one strategy to ensure that patients with TB take all their medication. An 'observer' acceptable to the patient and the health system observes the patient taking every dose of their medication, and records this for the health system to monitor.
The World Health Organization currently recommends that people with TB are treated for at least six months to achieve cure. These long durations of treatment can be difficult for patients to complete, especially once they are well and need to return to work. Failure to complete treatment can lead to relapse and even death in individuals, and also has important public health consequences, such as increased TB transmission and the development of drug resistance.
What the research says
Overall, cure and treatment completion in both self-treatment and DOT groups was low, and DOT did not substantially improve this. Small effects were seen in a subgroup of studies where the self-treatment group were monitored less frequently than the DOT group.
There is probably no difference in TB cure or treatment completion when the direct observation was conducted at home or at the clinic (moderate quality evidence). There is probably little or no difference in TB cure direct observation is conducted by a community health worker or family member (moderate quality evidence) and there may be little or no difference in treatment completion either (low quality evidence).
Direct observation may have little or no effect on treatment completion in injection drug users (low quality evidence).
The authors conclude that DOT on its own may not offer the solution to poor adherence in people taking TB medication.
PMCID: PMC4460720  PMID: 26022367
13.  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
14.  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
15.  Exposure to Bioterrorism and Mental Health Response among Staff on Capitol Hill 
The October 2001 anthrax attacks heralded a new era of bioterrorism threat in the U.S. At the time, little systematic data on mental health effects were available to guide authorities' response. For this study, which was conducted 7 months after the anthrax attacks, structured diagnostic interviews were conducted with 137 Capitol Hill staff workers, including 56 who had been directly exposed to areas independently determined to have been contaminated. Postdisaster psychopathology was associated with exposure; of those with positive nasal swab tests, PTSD was diagnosed in 27% and any post-anthrax psychiatric disorder in 55%. Fewer than half of those who were prescribed antibiotics completed the entire course, and only one-fourth had flawless antibiotic adherence. Thirty percent of those not exposed believed they had been exposed; 18% of all study participants had symptoms they suspected were symptoms of anthrax infection, and most of them sought medical care. Extrapolation of raw numbers to large future disasters from proportions with incorrect belief in exposure in this limited study indicates a potential for important public health consequences, to the degree that people alter their healthcare behavior based on incorrect exposure beliefs. Incorrect belief in exposure was associated with being very upset, losing trust in health authorities, having concerns about mortality, taking antibiotics, and being male. Those who incorrectly believe they were exposed may warrant concern and potential interventions as well as those exposed. Treatment adherence and maintenance of trust for public health authorities may be areas of special concern, warranting further study to inform authorities in future disasters involving biological, chemical, and radiological agents.
PMCID: PMC2956562  PMID: 20028246
16.  A High-Affinity Monoclonal Antibody to Anthrax Protective Antigen Passively Protects Rabbits before and after Aerosolized Bacillus anthracis Spore Challenge  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(2):795-802.
We have developed a therapeutic for the treatment of anthrax using an affinity-enhanced monoclonal antibody (ETI-204) to protective antigen (PA), which is the central cell-binding component of the anthrax exotoxins. ETI-204 administered preexposure by a single intravenous injection of a dose of between 2.5 and 10 mg per animal significantly protected rabbits from a lethal aerosolized anthrax spore challenge (∼60 to 450 times the 50% lethal dose of Bacillus anthracis Ames). Against a similar challenge, ETI-204 administered intramuscularly at a 20-mg dose per animal completely protected rabbits from death (100% survival). In the postexposure setting, intravenous administration of ETI-204 provided protection 24 h (8 of 10) and 36 h (5 of 10) after spore challenge. Administration at 48 h postchallenge, when 3 of 10 animals had already succumbed to anthrax infection, resulted in the survival of 3 of 7 animals (43%) for the duration of the study (28 days). Importantly, surviving ETI-204-treated animals were free of bacteremia by day 10 and remained so until the end of the studies. Only 11 of 51 ETI-204-treated rabbits had positive lung cultures at the end of the studies. Also, rabbits that were protected from inhalational anthrax by administration of ETI-204 developed significant titers of PA-specific antibodies. Presently, the sole therapeutic regimen available to treat infection by inhalation of B. anthracis spores is a 60-day course of antibiotics that is effective only if administered prior to or shortly after exposure. Based upon results reported here, ETI-204 is an effective therapy for prevention and treatment of inhalational anthrax.
PMCID: PMC547027  PMID: 15664918
17.  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
18.  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
19.  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
20.  Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax Surveillance, Connecticut, September–December, 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1078-1082.
On November 19, 2001, a case of inhalational anthrax was identified in a 94-year-old Connecticut woman, who later died. We conducted intensive surveillance for additional anthrax cases, which included collecting data from hospitals, emergency departments, private practitioners, death certificates, postal facilities, veterinarians, and the state medical examiner. No additional cases of anthrax were identified. The absence of additional anthrax cases argued against an intentional environmental release of Bacillus anthracis in Connecticut and suggested that, if the source of anthrax had been cross-contaminated mail, the risk for anthrax in this setting was very low. This surveillance system provides a model that can be adapted for use in similar emergency settings.
PMCID: PMC2730303  PMID: 12396919
21.  Raxibacumab: potential role in the treatment of inhalational anthrax 
Anthrax is a highly contagious and potentially fatal human disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, an aerobic, Gram-positive, spore-forming rod-shaped bacterium with worldwide distribution as a zoonotic infection in herbivore animals. Bioterrorist attacks with inhalational anthrax have prompted the development of more effective treatments. Antibodies against anthrax toxin have been shown to decrease mortality in animal studies. Raxibacumab is a recombinant human monoclonal antibody developed against inhalational anthrax. The drug received approval after human studies showed its safety and animal studies demonstrated its efficacy for treatment as well as prophylaxis against inhalational anthrax. It works by preventing binding of the protective antigen component of the anthrax toxin to its receptors in host cells, thereby blocking the toxin’s deleterious effects. Recently updated therapy guidelines for Bacillus anthracis recommend the use of antitoxin treatment. Raxibacumab is the first monoclonal antitoxin antibody made available that can be used with the antibiotics recommended for treatment of the disease. When exposure is suspected, raxibacumab should be given with anthrax vaccination to augment immunity. Raxibacumab provides additional protection against inhalational anthrax via a mechanism different from that of either antibiotics or active immunization. In combination with currently available and recommended therapies, raxibacumab should reduce the morbidity and mortality of inhalational anthrax.
Video abstract
PMCID: PMC4011807  PMID: 24812521
anthrax; monoclonal antibody; protective antigen; raxibacumab
22.  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
23.  Bioterrorism-related inhalational anthrax: the first 10 cases reported in the United States. 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2001;7(6):933-944.
From October 4 to November 2, 2001, the first 10 confirmed cases of inhalational anthrax caused by intentional release of Bacillus anthracis were identified in the United States. Epidemiologic investigation indicated that the outbreak, in the District of Columbia, Florida, New Jersey, and New York, resulted from intentional delivery of B. anthracis spores through mailed letters or packages. We describe the clinical presentation and course of these cases of bioterrorism-related inhalational anthrax. The median age of patients was 56 years (range 43 to 73 years), 70% were male, and except for one, all were known or believed to have processed, handled, or received letters containing B. anthracis spores. The median incubation period from the time of exposure to onset of symptoms, when known (n=6), was 4 days (range 4 to 6 days). Symptoms at initial presentation included fever or chills (n=10), sweats (n=7), fatigue or malaise (n=10), minimal or nonproductive cough (n=9), dyspnea (n=8), and nausea or vomiting (n=9). The median white blood cell count was 9.8 X 10(3)/mm(3) (range 7.5 to 13.3), often with increased neutrophils and band forms. Nine patients had elevated serum transaminase levels, and six were hypoxic. All 10 patients had abnormal chest X-rays; abnormalities included infiltrates (n=7), pleural effusion (n=8), and mediastinal widening (seven patients). Computed tomography of the chest was performed on eight patients, and mediastinal lymphadenopathy was present in seven. With multidrug antibiotic regimens and supportive care, survival of patients (60%) was markedly higher (<15%) than previously reported.
PMCID: PMC2631903  PMID: 11747719
24.  Evaluation of Intravenous Anthrax Immune Globulin for Treatment of Inhalation Anthrax 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(11):5684-5692.
Bacillus anthracis toxins can be neutralized by antibodies against protective antigen (PA), a component of anthrax toxins. Anthrivig (human anthrax immunoglobulin), also known as AIGIV, derived from plasma of humans immunized with BioThrax (anthrax vaccine adsorbed), is under development for the treatment of toxemia following exposure to anthrax spores. The pharmacokinetics (PK) of AIGIV was assessed in naive animals and healthy human volunteers, and the efficacy of AIGIV was assessed in animals exposed via inhalation to aerosolized B. anthracis spores. In the clinical study, safety, tolerability, and PK were evaluated in three dose cohorts (3.5, 7.1, and 14.2 mg/kg of body weight of anti-PA IgG) with 30 volunteers per cohort. The elimination half-life of AIGIV in rabbits, nonhuman primates (NHPs), and humans following intravenous infusion was estimated to be approximately 4, 12, and 24 days, respectively, and dose proportionality was observed. In a time-based treatment study, AIGIV protected 89 to 100% of animals when administered 12 h postexposure; however, a lower survival rate of 39% was observed when animals were treated 24 h postexposure, underscoring the need for early intervention. In a separate set of studies, animals were treated on an individual basis upon detection of a clinical sign or biomarker of disease, namely, a significant increase in body temperature (SIBT) in rabbits and presence of PA in the serum of NHPs. In these trigger-based intervention studies, AIGIV induced up to 75% survival in rabbits depending on the dose and severity of toxemia at the time of treatment. In NHPs, up to 33% survival was observed in AIGIV-treated animals. (The clinical study has been registered at under registration no. NCT00845650.)
PMCID: PMC3811278  PMID: 23979731
25.  Environmental Sampling for Spores of Bacillus anthracis 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(10):1083-1087.
On November 11, 2001, following the bioterrorism-related anthrax attacks, the U.S. Postal Service collected samples at the Southern Connecticut Processing and Distribution Center; all samples were negative for Bacillus anthracis. After a patient in Connecticut died from inhalational anthrax on November 19, the center was sampled again on November 21 and 25 by using dry and wet swabs. All samples were again negative for B. anthracis. On November 28, guided by information from epidemiologic investigation, we sampled the site extensively with wet wipes and surface vacuum sock samples (using HEPA vacuum). Of 212 samples, 6 (3%) were positive, including one from a highly contaminated sorter. Subsequently B. anthracis was also detected in mail-sorting bins used for the patient’s carrier route. These results suggest cross-contaminated mail as a possible source of anthrax for the inhalational anthrax patient in Connecticut. In future such investigations, extensive sampling guided by epidemiologic data is imperative.
PMCID: PMC2730287  PMID: 12396920
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; environmental sampling; postal facility; surface sampling; HEPA vacuum sock; swabs; wipes

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