Pulmonary anthrax after a biological attack

A cluster of anthrax bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) (green) in a capillary of the lung
A cluster of anthrax bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) (green) in a capillary of the lung

In the event of an attack with biological weapons, would the anthrax vaccine offer protection against pulmonary anthrax, or would rapid administration of antibiotics be more efficacious?
—LAWRENCE SHEDWICK, MPAS, PA-C, Pittsburgh

The CDC recommends post-exposure prophylaxis with both antibiotic treatment and vaccination for individuals exposed to inhalation anthrax. The vaccine is difficult to obtain, however, and requires three doses over the course of four weeks, which may limit practicability. For more information, see Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006;103:7813-7816.—Reuben W. Zimmerman, PA-C (126-7)

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