What is Anthrax? How is it transmitted? – Health Info from Information Providers
Gram-positive causes Anthrax, red shaped bacteria called Bacillus anthracite. All animals (domestic and wild), when they come in contact with anthrax affected areas, found naturally in soil will spread the disease to people through contaminated animal products. Contact can cause severe illness in both humans and animals. Anthrax is not contagious, and humans will not get it through cold or flu. It is an acute infection, which manifests within seven days after exposure. Inhalation anthrax may resemble common disease like cold leading to breathing problems later. Intestinal Anthrax follows history of consuming contaminated food.
Types of Anthrax
- Cutaneous: Persons may develop this kind when spores get into the skin if there is a cut or scrap. This will usually happen when a person handles infected animals or contaminated animal products like wool, hides, or hair. Cutaneous affects skin and tissues around and found mostly on the head, neck, forearms, and hands. Cutaneous is not very serious disease if treated early with antibiotics. This infection will develop in about 7 days after exposure. If prompt treatment is not given 20% of the infected may die. Symptoms may include itching blisters or bumps or a painless ulcer with a black center on the face, neck, arms, or hands and swelling can occur around the sore.
- Inhalation: When pores are inhaled causes inhalation anthrax. People working in wool mills, slaughterhouses, and tanneries are prone to get this decease when they breathe in the spores from infected animals or contaminated animal products from infected animals. This disease starts at primarily in the lymph nodes in the chest before spreading throughout the rest of the body. Those affected will have severe breathing problems and shock.It is deadly and Infection usually develops within a week after exposure, but it can take up to 2 months to develop. Without treatment, only about 10 – 15% of patients with inhalation anthrax survive. However, with aggressive treatment, about 55% of patients survive. The symptoms include fever and chills, chest discomfort, Shortness of breath, confusion or dizziness, cough, nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains, headache, sweats (often drenching), extreme tiredness and body aches.
- Gastrointestinal: Gastrointestinal Anthrax is a result of eating raw or under cooked meat from an infected animal . Once effected the spores can affect the upper gastrointestinal tract (throat and esophagus), stomach, and intestines. Infection usually develops from 1 to 7 days after exposure. Without treatment, more than half of patients with gastrointestinal anthrax die. However, with proper treatment, 60% of patients survive. symptoms can include fever and chills, swelling of neck or neck glands, sore throat, swallowing, hoarseness, nausea and blood vomiting, bloody diarrhea, headache, red face and red eyes, stomach pain, fainting., swelling of stomach
- Injection: Another type found in Northern Europe among heroin-injecting drug users. This type of infection has never been reported in the United States. The symptoms include fever or chills, small blisters or bump on the drug injected spot, painless skin sore with swelling around, abscesses deep under the skin,. These symptoms may look-alike as in other anthrax but more dangerous and spreads fast
Anthrax is Non Contagious
It is an acute infection, which manifests within seven days after exposure. Inhalation may resemble common cold leading to breathing problems later. Intestinal Anthrax follows history of consuming contaminated food. Precaution
- Do not shake or empty contents of any suspicious envelope or package.
- Hold your breath while opening any suspected envelope
- Put envelope in a plastic bag or some other container
- Wash your hand using soap immediately
- Consult your doctor/tell the police/public health authorities
Treatment: For 60 days
- # Ciproflox 500 mg. twice daily.
- In case of children, 20-30 mg per kg. body weight in two doses
- doxycycline 100 mg twice daily
- In case of children, 5 mg per kg. body weight in two doses.
Infected domestic and wild animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and deer with anthrax when they breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water which is previously infected with anthrax in the past. The only solution for animals from getting attached with this disease is vaccination periodically. People also get infected with anthrax in the same way as animals when spores get into the body and may get activated. and the bacteria can multiply, spread out in the body, produce toxins (poisons), and cause severe illness. It 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. It is rare in the United States, but sporadic outbreaks do occur in wild and domestic grazing animals such as cattle or deer. It is more common in developing countries and countries that do not have veterinary public health programs that routinely vaccinate animals against anthrax. People who make or play animal hide drums made with anthrax affected animals skin. It is most common in agricultural regions of
- Central and South America
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Central and southwestern Asia
- Southern and eastern Europe
- The Caribbean
Travelers be mindful of what they eat and handle, as well as the souvenirs they bring home. Avoid eating raw or under cooked meat, and avoid contact with livestock, animal products and animal carcasses. Vaccination against anthrax is not recommended for travelers and is not available for civilian travelers.
People with certain jobs are at an increased risk of coming in contact with anthrax spores. These include:
- Laboratory professionals
- Livestock producers
- People who handle animal products
- Mail handlers
- Military staff
- Response workers who are exposed during a bio terror event involving spores
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