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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States of America: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.10, n.1, pp.69-73. ISSN 1680-5348.

This piece presents the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the United States of America concerning the use of aluminum hydroxide adsorbed cell-free anthrax vaccine (Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, or AVA) and the use of chemoprophylaxis against Bacillus anthracis in the United States. The recommended vaccination schedule consists of three subcutaneous injections, at 0, 2, and 4 weeks, and three booster vaccinations, at 6, 12, and 18 months. To maintain immunity, an annual booster injection is recommended. Approximately 95% of vaccinees seroconvert, with a fourfold rise in anti-PA (protective antigen) IgG titers after three doses. Analysis of data from the United States' Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System has documented no pattern of serious adverse events clearly associated with the vaccine, except injection-site reactions. Vaccination is contraindicated in the case of a previous history of anthrax infection or anaphylactic reaction following a previous dose of AVA or any of the vaccine components. In addition, vaccination should be postponed in the case of moderate or severe acute illness. Pregnant women should be vaccinated against anthrax only if the potential benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks to the fetus. Vaccination during breast-feeding is not medically contraindicated. Routine preexposure vaccination with AVA is indicated for persons engaged in: a) work involving production quantities or concentrations of B. anthracis cultures or b) activities with a high potential for aerosol production. For the military and other select populations or for groups for which a calculable risk can be assessed, preexposure vaccination may be indicated. Following confirmed or suspected exposure to B. anthracis, postexposure antibiotic prophylaxis should be administered with ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, doxycycline, penicillin VK, or amoxicillin. If the vaccine is available, prophylaxis should continue for 4 weeks (until three doses of vaccine have been administered); otherwise, prophylaxis should continue for 30-60 days.

Keywords : carbunco; vacunación; quimioprofilaxis.

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