Modeling the spread of anthrax in buildings
The recent contamination of several U.S. buildings by letters containing anthrax demonstrates the need to understand better the transport and fate of anthrax spores within buildings. We modeled the spread of anthrax for a hypothetical office suite and estimated the distribution of mass and resulting occupant exposures. Based on our modeling assumptions, more than 90% of the anthrax released remains in the building during the first 48 hours, with the largest fraction of the mass accumulating on floor surfaces where it is subject to tracking and resuspension. Although tracking and resuspension account for only a small amount of mass transfer, the model results suggests they can have an important effect on subsequent exposures. Additional research is necessary to understand and quantify these processes.