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Anthrax

Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

1. 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. Although it is rare, people can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.Contact with anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals. Anthrax is not contagious, which means you cant catch it like the cold or flu.

2. Infected with anthrax
Domestic and wild animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and deer can become infected when they breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water. In areas where domestic animals have had anthrax in the past, routine vaccination can help prevent outbreaks.

3. People get infected with anthrax
People get infected with anthrax when spores get into the body. When anthrax spores get inside the body, they can be activated. When they become active, the bacteria can multiply, spread out in the body, produce toxins poisons, and cause severe illness.

This can happen when people breathe in spores, eat food or drink water that is contaminated with spores, or get spores in a cut or scrape in the skin. It is very uncommon for people in the United States to get infected with anthrax. Certain activities can also increase a persons chances of getting infected. For more information, see How People Are Infected.


4. Where is anthrax found
Anthrax is most common in agricultural regions of Central and South America, sub Saharan Africa, central and southwestern Asia, southern and eastern Europe, and the Caribbean. Anthrax is rare in the United States, but sporadic outbreaks do occur in wild and domestic grazing animals such as cattle or deer. Anthrax is more common in developing countries and countries that do not have veterinary public health programs that routinely vaccinate animals against anthrax. In the United States, yearly vaccination of livestock is recommended in areas where animals have had anthrax in the past.

5. How People Are Infected
People get infected with anthrax when spores get into the body. When this happens, the spores can be activated and become anthrax bacteria. Then the bacteria can multiply, spread out in the body, produce toxins poisons, and cause severe illness. This can happen when people breathe in spores, eat food or drink water that is contaminated with spores, or get spores in a cut or scrape in the skin.Certain activities described below can increase a persons chances of getting infected.

6. Undercooked meat from infected animals
People who eat raw or undercooked meat from infected animals may get sick with gastrointestinal anthrax. This usually occurs in countries where livestock are not routinely vaccinated against anthrax and food animals are not inspected prior to slaughter.

In the United States, gastrointestinal anthrax has rarely been reported. This is because yearly vaccination of livestock is recommended in areas of the United States where animals have had anthrax in the past, and because of the examination of all food animals, which ensures that they are healthy at the time of slaughter.


7. Injecting heroin
A newly discovered type of anthrax is injection anthrax. This type of anthrax has been seen in northern Europe in people injecting heroin. So far, no cases of injection anthrax have been reported in the United States.

8. Is Anthrax Contagious
No. You cannot catch anthrax from another person the way you might catch a cold or the flu. In rare cases, person to person transmission has been reported with cutaneous anthrax, where discharges from skin lesions might be infectious.

9. Who Is At Risk
Anyone who has come in contact with anthrax spores could be at risk of getting sick. Most people will never be exposed to anthrax. However, there are activities that can put some people at greater risk of exposure than others.

10. Medical Care
All types of anthrax can be prevented and treated with antibiotics. There is a vaccine licensed to prevent anthrax, but it is only recommended for routine use in certain groups of at risk adults. If someone has symptoms of anthrax, its important to get medical care as quickly as possible to have the best chances of a full recovery.

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Anthrax

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