If an anthrax attack occurred in a large city, hundreds of thousands of people could need rapid access to antibiotics to prevent possible illness or death. Delivering these antibiotics effectively after an attack is a public health challenge because of the large number of people who may be exposed and the brief window of time during which they would need to take the antibiotics.
Prepositioning Antibiotics For Anthrax, a new report from the Institute of Medicine, provides guidance to public health officials to determine where and how anthrax-preventing antibiotics should be stored as part of preparations for a large-scale attack. The report considers stockpiling and dispensing strategies - including keeping antibiotics in homes, offices, and local stockpiles - to complement existing anthrax preparedness measures. The report does not address the priority of stockpiling anthrax-preventing antibiotics relative to other disaster preparedness activities.
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