Local Storage Urged For Anthrax Meds | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 41 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: October 10, 2011

Local Storage Urged For Anthrax Meds

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: anthrax, antibiotics
Credit: CDC/Laura Rose
Very high magnification of 31,207X scanning electron micrograph of spores from the Sterne strain for Bacillus anthrancis bacteria.
Credit: CDC/Laura Rose

Public health officials on the state and local levels should determine where and how antibiotics should be stored in their communities, as part of preparations for a large-scale terrorist attack using anthrax, the Institute of Medicine says in a new report. It recommends that these officials work with the federal government to assess the costs and benefits of strategies that pre-position antibiotics in high-risk areas. However, the report discourages a broad home-storage strategy for the general population because of possible antibiotic misuse and higher costs. “Delivering antibiotics effectively following an anthrax attack is a tremendous public health challenge,” says Robert R. Bass, chair of the committee that wrote the report and executive director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. Current plans for dispensing antibiotics rely heavily on postattack delivery from state stockpiles or the federal government’s national repository of medicine and medical supplies. The report notes that the U.S. has an ample inventory of the antibiotics. The issue, it says, is how to get the medication into people’s hands soon enough to be effective.

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