Recent world events refocused attention on the possibility of nations engaging in biologic warfare, including an attack with Bacillus anthracis. The single available anthrax vaccine in the United States for human use, formerly known as MDPH-PA, has decreased ability to protect laboratory animals against virulent B. anthracis strains, especially compared with new vaccines being developed. Studies with these vaccines, however, have several shortcomings. The pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and prophylaxis of anthrax are discussed, as well as the implications that an attack with B. anthracis would place on the health care system.
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