Spencer, R. C. Public Health Laboratory, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, United Kingdom.
Ezzell, John W. Bacteriology Division, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Frederick, Maryland.
Last reviewed:January 2019
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- Clinical features
- Cutaneous anthrax
- Inhalation (pulmonary) anthrax
- Gastrointestinal anthrax
- Person-to-person transmission
- Inhalation and gastrointestinal anthrax
- Cutaneous anthrax
- Prophylactic treatment
- Animal vaccines
- Human vaccines
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
An acute, infectious worldwide zoonotic disease (transmissible to humans) caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis to which most animals, especially grazing herbivores, are susceptible. Anthrax is a serious, though rare, infectious disease caused by a rod-shaped bacterium, Bacillus anthracis (Fig. 1). In natural conditions, anthrax infections in humans are predominantly cutaneous and usually result from contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products, such as hides or wool. The awareness of the use of B. anthracis as a bioterrorist weapon has considerably increased. Anthrax is endemic as a zoonosis in many areas of Africa, Asia, and the Americas, where spores can lie dormant in the soil for many years and commonly affect grazing animals, including sheep, cattle, and goats. See also: Agricultural science (animal); Anthrax bacillus and the immune response; Bioterrorism; Infectious disease; Medical bacteriology; Zoonoses
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