Predicting hospital surge after an anthrax attack

The July/August 2009 issue of Medical Decision Making includes an article by Nathaniel Hupert and his colleagues describing a model that determines the expected number of individuals who develop symptomatic inhalational anthrax and require hospital-based intravenous antibiotic treatment. The key parameters in their study are delays in the dispensing of antibiotics and the effectiveness of the antibiotics. They conclude that extending the duration of the dispensing has less impact than delays in the start of dispensing or reductions in antibiotic effectiveness, both of which can dramatically increase the number of people who need to go to the hospital.

The model is a discrete-time model implemented in a Microsoft Excel workbook with a VBA macro.