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Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Community-Based Mass Prophylaxis

A Planning Guide for Public Health Preparedness

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a planning guide designed to help State, county, and local officials meet Federal requirements to prepare for a public health emergency.

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AHRQ's Community-Based Mass Prophylaxis: A Planning Guide for Public Health Preparedness, developed by researchers at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, provides an overview of the five components of a mass prophylaxis response to epidemic outbreaks:

  • Surveillance.
  • Stockpiling.
  • Distribution.
  • Dispensing.
  • Followup.

Sections of the planning guide focus on planning and conducting dispensing operations using specially-designated dispensing centers, and on describing the implementation of a comprehensive operational structure for Dispensing/Vaccination Centers (DVCs) based on the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

It is possible to calculate the number of staff needed to run a system that is operating in a steady-state manner. The accompanying Bioterrorism and Epidemic Outbreak Response Model (BERM) allows calculations of the number of staff needed to carry out a prophylaxis campaign using two different pre-specified designs for DVCs, one for antibiotic dispensing and another for vaccination.

Download Information

In addition to the Web version, the planning guide can also be downloaded as a Word® or PDF file. Your browser may support downloading the planning guide from this page by using the links below. Right click on the link and then select "Save Target As" (Internet Explorer) or "Save Link As" (Netscape®).

Word® files can be viewed in Microsoft® Word® or with a free Word® Viewer.

For information on PDF files, select PDF Help.

Printed copies are available by contacting AHRQ's Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or by sending an E-mail to

Bioterrorism Research Portfolio

This planning guide is one of more than 50 studies, workshops, conferences, and other activities funded under the Agency's bioterrorism research portfolio. AHRQ sponsors research that provides the evidence base for tools and resources needed in bioterrorism planning and response. For more information, go to:

Current as of October 2004

Internet Citation:

Community-Based Mass Prophylaxis: A Planning Guide for Public Health Preparedness. October 2004. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care