Modeling Rabbit Responses to Single and Multiple Aerosol Exposures of Bacillus anthracis Spores

Margaret E. Coleman, Harry M. Marks, Timothy A. Bartrand, Darrell W. Donahue, Stephanie A. Hines, Jason E. Comer, Sarah C. Taft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Survival models are developed to predict response and time-to-response for mortality in rabbits following exposures to single or multiple aerosol doses of Bacillus anthracis spores. Hazard function models were developed for a multiple-dose data set to predict the probability of death through specifying functions of dose response and the time between exposure and the time-to-death (TTD). Among the models developed, the best-fitting survival model (baseline model) is an exponential dose–response model with a Weibull TTD distribution. Alternative models assessed use different underlying dose–response functions and use the assumption that, in a multiple-dose scenario, earlier doses affect the hazard functions of each subsequent dose. In addition, published mechanistic models are analyzed and compared with models developed in this article. None of the alternative models that were assessed provided a statistically significant improvement in fit over the baseline model. The general approach utilizes simple empirical data analysis to develop parsimonious models with limited reliance on mechanistic assumptions. The baseline model predicts TTDs consistent with reported results from three independent high-dose rabbit data sets. More accurate survival models depend upon future development of dose–response data sets specifically designed to assess potential multiple-dose effects on response and time-to-response. The process used in this article to develop the best-fitting survival model for exposure of rabbits to multiple aerosol doses of B. anthracis spores should have broad applicability to other host–pathogen systems and dosing schedules because the empirical modeling approach is based upon pathogen-specific empirically-derived parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-957
Number of pages15
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Hazard function
  • survival analysis
  • time and dose dependency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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