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Anthrax
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Anthrax

From MayoClinic.com

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Bacterial

Anthrax, a disease of mammals and humans, is caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax has an almost worldwide distribution and is a zoonotic disease, meaning it may spread from animals to humans.  All mammals appear to be susceptible to anthrax to some degree. Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which is housed in a hardy spore, a cell that is dormant but may come to life in the right conditions. The disease usually affects livestock, but - as the world has become fully aware - it also infects humans. A naturally occurring disease known since biblical times, anthrax has been developed into a modern biological weapon.

Anthrax occurs in three forms:

  • Cutaneous anthrax. This form infects the skin, causing a sore with a black center. It occurs when a cut, blister or other skin wound comes into contact with anthrax spores. Left untreated, up to 20 percent of cases of cutaneous anthrax progress to a dangerous bloodstream infection called septicemia, which can be fatal.
  • Intestinal anthrax. You can contract this form by consuming meat from an infected animal. About 25 percent to 60 percent of untreated cases of intestinal anthrax result in death.
  • Inhalation anthrax. This most deadly form of the disease occurs when you inhale enough anthrax spores to infect your lungs. Researchers believe that inhalation anthrax is fatal in more than 90 percent of cases.

All three forms of anthrax can be prevented or treated with antibiotics. However, to be most effective, treatment must begin early. An anthrax vaccine also exists.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family against anthrax? First, don't panic. The average risk of exposure to anthrax remains exceedingly low, despite anthrax spores delivered through the mail in the United States in 2001. Second, arm yourself with information to fully understand this microscopic invader.

 

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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