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Notice to Readers: Evaluation of Postexposure Antibiotic Prophylaxis to Prevent Anthrax

In response to the recent bioterrorist attacks associated with intentional release of Bacillus anthracis, approximately 10,000 persons potentially exposed to anthrax in Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York City, and Washington, D.C., were recommended to take at least 60 days of postexposure anti-biotic prophylaxis. Surveillance for adverse events and adherence to antibiotics has been conducted through surveillance and cross-sectional studies. CDC is evaluating the program to distribute antimicrobial agents and assessing adverse events and adherence. The objectives of this evaluation are to assess the provision of antimicrobial agents and educational materials to affected persons, to determine adverse events associated with the antimicrobial agents, and to characterize adherence to the recommended regimen. The information from this evaluation will be critical to CDC's effort to improve the technical assistance and supplies needed with future anthrax postexposure prophylaxis campaigns and to comply with Food and Drug Administration regulations for monitoring for adverse events.

CDC has contracted RTI International to conduct brief telephone interviews of all persons for whom postexposure antibiotic prophylaxis was recommended. Interviews are scheduled to begin in late January 2002 and will continue for approximately 8 weeks. Additional information about the program evaluation is available from CDC, telephone 404-639-3158.

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