* Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by spores of bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can be found globally. It is in developing countries without veterinary public heath programs. The United States military views anthrax as potential biological terrorism threat because the spores are resistant to destruction and can be easily spread by release in the air. Foreign countries have been documented for development of anthrax as a biological weapon.

* The B. anthracis spores are often present in the soil . Goat, sheep and cattle are examples of animals that may become infected. Human infection occur by three routes of exposure to anthrax spores: cutaneous ( skin), gastrointestinal (by ingestion), and pulmonary ( inhalation).

– Symptoms usually occur after 7 to 17 days:

+ Cutaneous: Most anthrax infections occur when the bacterium enters a cut or abrasion on the skin. Skin infection begins the painless ulcers with characteristic black necrotic area in the center. Lymph gland in the adjacent area may swell. Anthrax will result in death with untreated case of cutaneous infection.

+ Inhalation: Symptoms are a common cold. After few days, the symptoms are progress to breathing problems and shock. Inhalation anthrax is usually fatal. At autopsy, there were numerous foci of hemorrhage of the mediastinum. The hilar and peribronchial lympth nodes are enlarged, soft, confluent, and hemorrhagic. This death from inhalation anthrax demonstrates the ability of this infection to mimic other diseases: congestive heart failure, influenza, and community-acquired pneumonias.

+ Intestinal: Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fever are followed by abdominal pain. Intestinal anthrax results in death in 60% of cases.

* The prevention anthrax is the anthrax vaccine. The vaccine is a cell-free filtrate vaccine, which means it contains no dead or live bacteria in the preparation. Anthrax vaccines intended for animals should not be used in humans. There is a list for who should get vaccinated against anthrax:

– Persons who work with the organism in the laboratory.

– Persons who work with imported animal hides or furs.

– Military personnel deployed to areas with high risk for exposure to the organism.

Treatment should be initiated early, if left untreated the disease can be fatal.


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