Anthrax

By: Emma Sorg

Discovery

In the mid 19th century farmer's livestock were suffering from a frightening disease that could kill almost and entire herd of sheep in 24 hrs. Soon after farmers who worked with the animal would also be effected by the disease.


Robert Koch found that the disease was caused by a bacteria Called Bacillus antracis ( Buh-SIL-us an-THRAY-sus) which forms spores in the soil. Then when the animals would go out to graze they would become infected, and eventually would infect the farmers that worked with them.

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Transmission

There are three ways to be infected.

1.Cutaneous (Cut or scrape)
This is the most common way to be infected. If someone with a cut or scrape comes into contact with an animal carrying the spores on their fur/hide they can become infected. The people who most at risk for this are Farmers, vets, and Wool processors.


2. Inhalation

This happens when anthrax spores enter the lungs. Airborne spores most commonly infect people who work as tannery workers or wool processors.


3. Tainted meat

The last way to be infected is to eat meat tainted with anthrax.

Symtoms

The symptoms differ from the way you've been infected.


Cutaneous


Symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Large boil or sore forms (may blister)
  • Sore usually gets covered in a black scab


Systems effected:
  • Infection can spread to your lymph nodes and blood stream.


Inhailation


Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Shock (can occur later)


Systems effected:

  • Spores germinate inside lungs for 1-6 days
  • Spores release toxic substances which cause: Internal bleeding, swelling, and tissue death.


Gastrointestinal



Symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • diarrhea (Bloody)
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting (Bloody)


Systems effected:

  • Intestinal bleeding
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Bio-terrorism

For two decades bio-terrorism experts warned the U.S that they were susceptible to attacks. 2 weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Letters were sent to important news broadcasters, and government buildings. When letters were opened Anthrax spores were misted into the air like a powder. Followed by a threatening message inside. At the end of the year 18 people had been infected, and 5 people had died.


When The Anthrax was sent to labs they described it as "energetic" unlike the wet Anthrax they had worked with this Anthrax was dry and crushed into a very fine powder that would often float even in the bag it was kept in, and would often drift toward you if you were near it.

Treatment/Prevention

There are several antibodies for each type of infection. The most effective treatment in the one they have for cutaneous infections. , though the others are effective in early stages of the infection. The U.S. also has vaccines available for people who are at risk for catching the disease.

Citations

"Anthrax (malignant Edema, Woolsorters' Disease)." Anthrax (malignant Edema, Woolsorters' Disease). Department of Health, Oct. 2011. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

"Anthrax: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 02 Dec. 2014.

"History of Biowarfare." PBS. PBS, Feb. 2002. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

Hoff, Brent, Carter Smith, and Charles H. Calisher. Mapping Epidemics: A Historical Atlas of Disease. New York: Franklin Watts, 2000. Print.

Iptv. "Watch Now: FRONTLINE | The Anthrax Files | PBS Video." PBS Video. Iptv, 11 May 2011. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

"The Threat." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Apr. 2014. Web. 05 Dec. 2014.

"What Is Anthrax?" KidsHealth - the Web's Most Visited Site about Children's Health. Ed. Steven Dowshen. The Nemours Foundation, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.

Wikipedia. File:Bacillus Anthracis Gram.jpg. Digital image. Wikipedia. CDC, Mar. 2009. Web.

Wikipedia. File:Skin Reaction to Anthrax.jpg. Digital image. United States Army, Dec. 2011. Web.