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Keywords:

  • Bioterrorism;
  • influence diagram;
  • plague ecology;
  • risk communication;
  • rodents;
  • Yersinia pestis

We create an influence diagram of how a plague bioattack could unfold and then use it to identify factors shaping infection risks in many possible scenarios. The influence diagram and associated explanations provide a compact reference that allows risk communicators to identify key messages for pre-event preparation and testing. It can also be used to answer specific questions in whatever unique situations arise, considering both the conditions of the attack and the properties of the attacked populations. The influence diagram allows a quick, visual check of the factors that must be covered when evaluating audience information needs. The documentation provides content for explaining the resultant advice. We show how these tools can help in preparing for crises and responding to them.