Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Statistical Analysis Of Anthrax Attack Shows Outbreak Could Have Been Twice As Large

Date:
March 15, 2002
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health
Summary:
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health believe the October 2001 anthrax attack on the United States could have been much worse. A statistical analysis of the attack shows that twice as many people could have contracted the deadly form of inhalational anthrax if they had not received antibiotic treatment.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health believe the October 2001 anthrax attack on the United States could have been much worse. A statistical analysis of the attack shows that twice as many people could have contracted the deadly form of inhalational anthrax if they had not received antibiotic treatment. The study, which appears in March 8, 2002 issue of Science, is the first to estimate the number anthrax cases that may have been prevented by antibiotic prophylaxis and is a valuable tool for assessing the risks and benefits of anthrax treatments. The analysis also emphasizes the need for rapid detection of disease outbreaks.

Related Articles


To date, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have confirmed 11 cases of inhalational anthrax and of those people five have died. It is believed that nine of the people contracted inhalational anthrax through contact with contaminated mail and mail handling facilities in Florida, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. The two remaining anthrax cases were reported in Connecticut and New York, but the origin of their infections has never been determined. To prevent anthrax infection, public health authorities recommended a 60-day antibiotic regimen for 10,000 people who may have come in contact with the spore-forming bacteria. Approximately 5,000 of these patients were either postal works in New Jersey or Washington, D.C., or employees of the Florida media company, and they were the focus of this study.

Using this data, Ron Brookmeyer, PhD, professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Natalie Blades, a graduate student at the School, created a statistical model to trace the rate of anthrax infection. They calculated that twice as many people could have contracted inhalational anthrax without receiving the 60-day antibiotic treatment.

"The numbers need to put into perspective. The antibiotic treatment clearly saved lives, but we are still talking about a very small number of people who might have contracted inhalational anthrax without antibiotics. Maybe 17 instead of eight," explains Dr. Brookmeyer.

After accounting for various incubation periods for anthrax due to sensitivity to the spores, the age of those exposed, and other factors, the researchers concluded that no more than 50 people or less than one percent of the thousands who received antibiotic therapy would have developed anthrax without antibiotic treatment.

"These findings are not meant to suggest that the prophylaxis antibiotic regimen should not be used, but they do suggest the risk of contracting anthrax after completing the 60-day course of antibiotics is very small," says Dr. Brookmeyer. "This level of risk should be considered when determining if someone should be treated for exposure beyond the 60-day antibiotic regimen, such as with the anthrax vaccine."

"This study really underscores the need for better disease surveillance and the need to rapidly detect outbreaks and diagnose people exposed to anthrax and other deadly biological agents. It demonstrates that earlier intervention and treatment can save lives and must be a critical element of any biodefense strategy," adds Dr. Brookmeyer.

The article, "Prevention of Inhalational Anthrax in the U.S. Outbreak" by Ron Brookmeyer and Natalie Blades appears in the March 8, 2002 edition of Science.

To learn more about the biodefense, visit the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on-line at http://www.jhsph.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. "Statistical Analysis Of Anthrax Attack Shows Outbreak Could Have Been Twice As Large." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020313080057.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. (2002, March 15). Statistical Analysis Of Anthrax Attack Shows Outbreak Could Have Been Twice As Large. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020313080057.htm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. "Statistical Analysis Of Anthrax Attack Shows Outbreak Could Have Been Twice As Large." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020313080057.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins