MBI Publications

MBI Publications for Respiratory Pathogens (1)

  • J. Day, A. Friedman and L. Schlesinger
    Modeling the host response to inhalation anthrax
    J Theor BiolVol. 276 No. 1 (2011) pp. 199-208


    Inhalation anthrax, an often fatal infection, is initiated by endospores of the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which are introduced into the lung. To better understand the pathogenesis of an inhalation anthrax infection, we propose a two-compartment mathematical model that takes into account the documented early events of such an infection. Anthrax spores, once inhaled, are readily taken up by alveolar phagocytes, which then migrate rather quickly out of the lung and into the thoracic/mediastinal lymph nodes. En route, these spores germinate to become vegetative bacteria. In the lymph nodes, the bacteria kill the host cells and are released into the extracellular environment where they can be disseminated into the blood stream and grow to a very high level, often resulting in the death of the infected person. Using this framework as the basis of our model, we explore the probability of survival of an infected individual. This is dependent on several factors, such as the rate of migration and germination events and treatment with antibiotics.

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