Anthrax attack posed greater potential threat than thought

trigger an antibody response, but did induce a response by cells of the immune system, Intermediate exposure induced both. Finally, cellular immune responses declined with post-exposure use of antibiotics, suggesting that the intervention impeded spore germination and implying that it may reduce the incidence of both subclinical and clinical B. anthracis infection.

In an accompanying editorial, James L. Hadler, MD, MPH, of the Infectious Diseases Section of the Connecticut Department of Public Health, commented that the study by Doolan and coworkers is "one of the few studies of the immune response to high-level, naturally occurring anthrax exposure in humans, and may be the first to describe cell-mediated responses to this pathogen." Dr. Hadler said that the study's data suggest that cell-mediated responses in B. anthracis infection may be more sensitive than antibody responses, and he recommended that future studies of anthrax vaccines investigate cellular immunity's role in inhibiting the pathogen.


Contact: Steve Baragona
Infectious Diseases Society of America

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