A mathematician at Vanderbilt and an expert in infectious diseases at the New York University School of Medicine have teamed up to produce a mathematical model of how anthrax can be spread through the mail. The model, which appears
in the May 14 issue of the The analysis concludes that original anthrax-filled envelopes must have contaminated an additional 5,000 pieces of mail with significant but much lower levels of anthrax spores in order to account for the two deaths that appear have occurred from such cross-contamination. In the case of any future attacks of this type, the model provides a framework that can be used for the rapid identification and containment of any further outbreaks. The model was developed by Glenn F. Webb, professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt, and Martin J. Blaser, the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine, chairman of the department of medicine and professor of microbiology at the NYU School of Medicine. By David
F. Salisbury |