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Anthrax
What is anthrax?
  • Anthrax is caused by an infection with the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, which is found in soil.
  • Anthrax is therefore an infection of animals, mostly small rodents.


    Spores.
  • Spores is a dormant form of the bacteria, which may remain alive for decades.
  • It is the spores of the Anthrax bacteria, which has been used for bioterrorrism.

    Infection through inhalation
  • Infection happens through contact with the spores.
  • The spores must have a certain size to be infective.
  • A certain dose is necessary to be infected.
  • In the lung the spores are activated to the active Anthrax bacteria within 1 to 5 days, but in rare cases it may take several weeks.

    The anthrax disease
    Anthrax is seen as three different diseases: on the skin, in the lungs and in the gut.

    Anthrax on the skin
  • Anthrax gives a sore 2 to 5 days after infection.
  • The sore develops a black crust 7 10 days later and at the same time the area is red, tender and swollen.

    Anthrax in the lungs
  • The infection was in old days seen in workers cutting wool, due to spores found in the wool.
  • The incubation time is 1 5 days, and in the beginning the symptoms are dry cough, fever and malaise.
  • The infections is usually lethal without treatment.

    Anthrax in the gut
    The infection comes from eating Anthrax infected meat, which have not been cooked sufficiently.

    Treatment
    Anthrax can be treated with penicillin, alternatively tetracyclins or ciprofloxacin.

    What do I do if I suspect I have been exposed to Anthrax?
  • Alarm the police.
  • Get the suspected source of infection examined as quickly as possible.
  • If the suspected material is tested positive for Anthrax, treatment should be started. The result of the test is ususally available within 24 hours, and treatment is usually delayed until the test results are available.

    Edited 1 December 2008