Essay by Leviarevalo89Junior High, 9th grade February 2004

download word file, 1 pages 3.0

Downloaded 31 times

What is anthrax?

Anthrax is a rare infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. It can occur in wild and domestic hoofed animals, especially cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and antelopes. It can also occur in humans when they are exposed to the bacterium. There are three forms of anthrax infection: cutaneous (skin), inhalation (lungs), and gastrointestinal (stomach and intestine). If people have been intentionally exposed, as in a bioterrorist release, breathing in the spores or contact with skin would be the most likely routes of exposure.

How common is anthrax and who can get it?

Anthrax can be found globally. It is most common in agricultural regions where it occurs in animals. It is more common in developing countries or countries without veterinary public health programs. Anthrax is reported more often in some regions of the world (South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East) than in others and is extremely rare in the United States.

When anthrax affects humans, it is usually due to an occupational exposure to infected animals or their products. However, anthrax is considered to be one of a number of potential agents for use in biological terrorism.

How is anthrax spread?

Getting anthrax from another person is very rare. Anthrax is generally spread through the following three methods:

Skin (cutaneous) - Most anthrax infections occur when people touch contaminated animal products like wool, bone, hair, and hide. The infection occurs when the bacteria enters a cut or scratch in the skin.

Inhalation - Some anthrax infections occur when people breathe in the spores of he bacteria (a spore is the form that certain bacteria take in unfavorable growing conditions. When in better conditions, like the human lung, the bacteria will begin to grow and...