Anthrax

By Cheyenne Schwartfigure

What is Anthrax?

Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus Anthracis.

Anthrax can be found naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world.

Reservoirs

Natural reservoir of Anthrax include farm animals such as cattle, goat, and sheep.

Humans can become exposed after handling infected animal products such as belts/skins or eating contaminated meats.

Transmitted

-Contagious Anthrax - transmitted by entering the body through a cut or other sore in your skin.

Symptoms - raised itchy bumps that look like a bug bite that develops into a painless sore with a black center.

-Gastrointestinal - transmitted by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. Symptoms - nausea, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, swollen neck.

-Inhalation - transmitted by breathing in anthrax spores.

Symptoms - Mild chest pain, nausea, coughing up blood, shortness of breath.

-Injection - transmitted by injecting illegal drugs.

Symptoms - redness at the area of injection, swelling.

*More progressed symptoms of most anthrax results in shock, organ failure, meningitis and death!*

Incubation period

-The period between contact with anthrax and the start of symptoms depend on how the infection was contracted.

-Symptoms may appear from 1-5 days after contact.

-Other symptoms may take weeks to appear.

Usual treatment

-with proper antibiotics, Anthrax can be cured depending on how soon treatment ad on whether the disease is the type contagious, gastrointestinal, inhalation or injection.

- Inhalation Anthrax is the most dangerous. In 2001, only 1/2 of those with lung anthrax survived, even with antibiotics and hospital treatment.