Antibody response to a delayed booster dose of anthrax vaccine and botulinum toxoid

Phillip R. Pittman*, Dallas Hack, Joseph Mangiafico, Paul Gibbs, Kelly T. McKee, Arthur M. Friedlander, Maria H. Sjogren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We evaluated the prevalence and concentration of serum antibodies 18-24 months after primary inoculation with anthrax and botulinum vaccines, and assessed the reactogenicity and immunogenicity of a significantly delayed booster dose of these vaccines. Five hundred and eight male active-duty military personnel received one, two or three inoculations with anthrax vaccine and/or botulinum toxoid in 1990/1991 in preparation for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Subjects were vaccinated with the licensed anthrax vaccine, adsorbed (AVA) and pentavalent (ABCDE) botulinum toxoid (PBT) BB-IND 3723. Anthrax protective antigen (PA) IgG antibody was measured in serum using an immunocapture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A mouse neutralization test was used to determine the titer of Clostridium botulinum type A antitoxin in serum samples. The prevalence of anti-PA IgG was 30% in individuals 18-24 months after priming with one, two or three doses of AVA. After boosting, 99% of volunteers had detectable anti-PA IgG; only two individuals failed to respond. The prevalence of antibodies against botulinum toxin type A was 28% 18-24 months after initial priming. Following boosting, 99% of volunteers had serum titers >0.02IU/ml, and 97% responded with titers ≥0.25IU/ml. Systemic reactions to booster vaccinations could not be specifically ascribed to one or the other vaccine, but were generally mild and of brief duration. Forty-five percent of volunteers reported one or more systemic reactions over the course of 7 days. Injection site reactions of any kind occurred in 25% of AVA recipients and in 16% of PBT recipients; persistence of local reactions beyond 7 days was infrequent. While the kinetics and durability of immune responses must be studied, these findings suggest that booster doses of anthrax vaccine and botulinum toxoid sufficient to stimulate a robust anamnestic response may be given at times distant from receipt of the primary inoculations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2107-2115
Number of pages9
Issue number16
StatePublished - 15 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Botulinum toxoid
  • Immune response
  • Pentavalent


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