WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University said Wednesday that early detection -- and not a pre-exposure vaccination -- is the key to limiting an outbreak of anthrax.
Ron Brookmeyer, Elizabeth Johnson and Robert Bollinger published their results in the journal Nature, saying that delivering antibiotics within six days of exposure can prevent up to 70 percent of cases of the disease.
But, the researchers said, at least 63 percent of those exposed must have been vaccinated and quickly receive a full regimen of antibiotics to reach a prevention rate of 90 percent.
Brookmeyer said the public health system may not quite be up to the task of catching early onset.
"It is true that, caught early, we think antibiotics would work, but most cases when people become ill with anthrax, inhalational anthrax, you don't recognize it as anthrax right away," he said.
"I think we can do better," he said. "I think there are a lot of improvements that can be made to public health preparedness in terms of detecting emerging outbreaks."
From CNN Health