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Anthrax
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Anthrax

From MayoClinic.com

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INFECTIOUS DISEASE

Bacterial

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of anthrax vary depending on how you contract the disease. Signs and symptoms of the three forms of anthrax are as follows:

Cutaneous anthrax. You can contract anthrax by direct contact with the bacterium. Anthrax spores can enter a cut, blister or abrasion on your skin, causing a localized skin (cutaneous) infection at the site within one to 14 days. The infection begins as a raised, sometimes itchy bump resembling an insect or spider bite. But within a day or two, the bump develops into an open, usually painless sore with a black center. In fact, the term anthrax comes from the Greek word for "coal black," anthracis, because of this characteristic black scab, which is actually dead tissue. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 95 percent of cases, and it's also the mildest form of the disease. It's effectively treated with antibiotics. Shortly after you start antibiotics, the wound begins to heal, possibly leaving a scar. With treatment, cutaneous anthrax is fatal in less than 1 percent of cases. However, there is a slight danger that the infection may spread. Signs of spreading include fever, chills and swollen lymph glands central to the area of the sore.

You can contract anthrax when spores enter an open wound in your skin. The infection begins as a raised, sometimes itchy bump resembling an insect or spider bite. But within a day or two, the bump ...Inhaled anthrax spores (upper-right inset) can settle in the tiny air sacs (alveoli) of the lung (upper-left inset). Once inside the lungs, the spores transform into bacteria (lower-right inset), ...

  • Intestinal anthrax. You can contract anthrax by eating undercooked meat from an infected animal. Intestinal anthrax causes sores (ulcers) within your intestines — much like the sores that appear on the skin in the cutaneous form. The first signs and symptoms of intestinal anthrax generally show up within a day to a week after eating contaminated meat. Initial signs and symptoms include nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and fever, followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood and severe, bloody diarrhea. This form of anthrax is extremely rare, but it is fatal in 25 percent to 60 percent of cases if not treated immediately.

  • Inhalation (pulmonary) anthrax. You can contract anthrax by inhaling anthrax spores. Once lodged in your respiratory tract, these spores become active within a day to as long as two months. Initial signs and symptoms of inhalation anthrax resemble those of the flu sore throat, mild fever, malaise, fatigue, muscle aches and mild chest discomfort. These first signs and symptoms may last for a few hours or a few days, after which they may appear to subside briefly. However, soon after, the disease progresses, producing a high fever, breathing problems and shock. The disease destroys lung tissue and may spread to the brain, causing meningitis. Antibiotics can reduce the risk of death, especially if started within the first few days of signs and symptoms.

Anthrax > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 >

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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.
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