What is ANTHRAX?
- Anthrax, caused by Bacillus anthracis (a bacterium that forms spores), comes in three forms: skin (cutaneous), lung (inhalation) and digestive (gastroinstestinal).
- While Anthrax is not spread from person to person, humans can become infected with Anthrax from inhaling spores from animal products (i.e. wool) or eating undercooked meats from infected animals.
- Anthrax is considered to be a weapon. In 2001, Anthrax was deliberately spread through the postal system by sending letters containing anthrax in powder form.
- Anthrax is considered to be a Category A bioterrorism agent. The CDC has three priority areas for bioterrism: A, B & C. Category A agents pose the greatest possible threat for public health, may spread across a large area or need public awareness, and need a great deal of planning to protect the public's health.
- With early detection, cutaneous anthrax can be easily treated with antibiotics; Gastrointestinal anthrax is a bit more serious ending with death in one-quarter to one-half of the cases; Inhalation anthrax is the most severe with half of the cases ending in death.
What are the symptoms of Anthrax exposure ?
- Cutaneous: A small sore develops into a blister which becomes ulcerous with a black area in the center. The sore, blister and ulcer do not hurt.
- Gastrointestinal: Nausea, loss of appetite, bloody diarreha, and fever, followed by bad stomach pain.
- Inhalation: A sore throat, mild fever and muscles aches similar to cold or flu symptoms develop, followed by cough, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, tiredness and muscle aches.
Source: Centers for Disease Control
Get more information on ANTHRAX from the Centers for Disease Control.