Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2002

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Prior to September 11, 2001 many people did not know much about anthrax besides it being a highly infectious fatal bacterial disease of mammals especially cattle and sheep, that cause skin ulcers and being transmittable to humans by inhalation and through infected meat. In fact, the last time anyone died of anthrax until now had been in 1976. Because of a growing media influence over the past decade, anthrax myths have been numerous, and many people do not know what they are listening to on the news is correct. However, the author of this article does a very good job of answering many questions about anthrax.

Anthrax is rarely contagious, and transmission requires direct contact with the spores (one cell reproductive structure) "“ even people who get inhalation anthrax do not exhale spores. Anthrax can only be caught if one comes into contact with anthrax by inhaling a lot of spores (at least 8.000

to 10.000) by eating contaminated meat or by in coming into contact with the bacterium through open wound. However, anthrax caused by inhaling is by far the most dangerous. Anthrax, as of recently has become such a worrisome issue that many people want the vaccine that have not even come into contact with the bacteria. However, this is not a good idea because of several reasons. Taking antibiotics without an active infection or taking too short a course of antibiotics only increases the chances for the bacteria to become resistant, thus rendering the medications ineffective. Also it is important, that physicians do not prescribe Cipro so people can stockpile the drug. If this happens, this may lead to people who are in need of the vaccine to not be able to obtain the much-needed vaccine. This would be most unfortunate and very irresponsible of the physicians...