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◆ ANTHRAX | diseaseconditions



It is an infectious and potentially fatal disease of warm-blooded animals, especially of cattle and sheep, caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can also occasionally effect human population.


The bacteria of Anthrax is a gram-positive, spore-forming, rod-shaped (bacillus) bacterium. It needs oxygen to thrive and has a capsule around it and hence has a protective layer around it. A spore is a cell that is dormant (asleep) but may come to life with the right conditions. Anthrax spores are tasteless, odorless, and invisible. A bacterium is a very small organism made up of one cell. Many bacteria can cause disease.


>Humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals or by breathing in anthrax spores from infected animal products (like wool, for example). People also can become infected with gastrointestinal anthrax by eating undercooked meat from infected animals.
>Anthrax from contaminated mail, equipment or clothing.



>Mild fever (temperature greater than 100 degrees F). The fever may be accompanied by chills or night sweats.
>Flu-like symptoms. Cough, usually a non-productive cough, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches.
>Sore throat ( followed by difficulty swallowing, enlarged lymph nodes, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal distress, vomiting, or diarrhoea ).
>A sore, especially on your face, arms or hands, that starts as a raised bump and develops into a painless ulcer with a black area in the center.


The first symptom is a small sore that develops into a blister. The blister then develops into a skin ulcer with a black area in the center. The sore, blister and ulcer do not hurt.

The first symptoms are nausea, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhoea, and fever, followed by bad stomach pain.

The first symptoms of inhalation type of anthrax are cold and flu like symptoms and can include a sore throat, mild fever and muscle aches. Later symptoms include cough, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, tiredness and muscle aches. (Caution: If a person has cold or flu symptoms, do not assume that they are suffering from inhalation anthrax.


>Anthrax is diagnosed by isolating B. anthracis from the blood, skin lesions, or respiratory secretions or by measuring specific antibodies in the blood of persons with suspected cases.In patients with symptoms compatible with anthrax, providers should confirm the diagnosis by obtaining the appropriate laboratory specimens based on the clinical form of anthrax that is suspected (i.e., cutaneous, inhalational, or gastrointestinal).

- Vesicular fluid and blood
- Blood, cerebrospinal fluid (if meningeal signs are present) or chest X-ray


Antibiotics are used to treat all three types of anthrax. Early identification and treatment are important.

Treatment after infection. Treatment is usually a 60-day course of antibiotics. If you give anthrax spores the right environment, such as the human body, they can grow into the harmful form of the bacteria that can cause anthrax disease. It takes anthrax spores an average of 7 days to grow into the harmful form of the bacteria, but it can take longer. For this reason, you must continue taking preventive antibiotics for the full 60 days.Success depends on the type of anthrax and how soon treatment begins.




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