Alternative NamesWoolsorter's disease, Ragpicker's disease, Cutaneous anthrax, Gastrointestinal anthrax
What is Anthrax
Anthrax is an serious acute disease triggered by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and affecting humans and animals. It is a life-threatening disease, most forms of which are lethal. Some vaccines are effective in the prevention of anthrax and some forms react to antibiotic treatment in a good way. There different types of anthrax, e.g. cutaneous, inhalation and gastrointestinal.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of the disease vary according to the type of anthrax.
Symptoms of cutaneous anthrax:
- blister or ulcer that later forms a black scab
- blister or ulcer is usually surrounded by a lot of swelling
Symptoms of inhalation anthrax:
- fever, malaise, headache, cough, shortness of breath and chest pain
Symptoms of gastrointestinal anthrax:
- vomiting (the vomit may include blood)
- bloody diarrhea
The most serious complication of anthrax is a fatal inflammation of the membranes and fluid covering the brain and spinal cord, leading to massive bleeding (hemorrhagic meningitis).
This disease is caused by anthrax bacteria that occur naturally in soil in most parts of the world. Usually this bacteria attacks wild or domestic livestock, such as sheep, cattle, horses, goats and camels. Anthrax is still exists in Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and sub-Saharan Africa.Human cases of anthrax appear as a result of exposure to infected animals, their meat or hides.
You should prevent anthrax by the following ways:
- taking preventive antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, penicillin or doxycycline
- getting vaccinated
You should consult the doctor concerning the treatment. Commonly, the treatment for anthrax is a 60-day course of an antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin or doxycycline. It is important to start the process of the treatment as soon as possible, because left untreated anthrax may lead to death.