Index of Anthrax Articles
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Standard defination of Anthrax at bottom of page
GIF Image, with standard explanation, of how anthrax works
Bacillus anthracis, the organism that causes anthrax, derives its name from the Greek
word for coal, anthracis, because of its ability to cause black, coal-like cutaneous eschars.
Anthrax infection is a disease acquired following contact with infected animals or
contaminated animal products or following the intentional release of anthrax spores as a
biological weapon. [From a Johns Hopkins University web page]
From a CDC, FAQ Anthrax page: (October 18, 2001)
What should I know about anthrax?
Our course of action for preventing anthrax after exposure in the civilian population would be with
antibiotics. Vaccination is not recommended, and the vaccine is not available to health care providers
or the general public. We do not recommend that physicians prescribe antibiotics for anthrax at this
time. We currently have enough antibiotics to prevent the disease in 2 million persons exposed to
anthrax, therefore we could rapidly get preventive medicine to those who may be affected by this
disease, which cannot be transmitted between people.
This GIF was found on my computer with a download date of
30 January 2002. Its name suggests it is from a BBC article, but
the source was not located using Google.Com search.
Remember to consider not only the bacteria, but also the susceptability of the body
which depends upon general health.
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Package Insert: ANTHRAX VACCINE ADSORBED (BIOTHRAX)
(Page 1 , and part of page 2, of a 7 page document)
ANTHRAX VACCINE ADSORBED (BIOTHRAX)
Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed, (BioThrax) is a sterile, milky-white suspension (when mixed) made from
cell-free filtrates of microaerophilic cultures of an avirulent, nonencapsulated strain of Bacillus
anthracis. The production cultures are grown in a chemically defined protein-free medium consisting
of a mixture of amino acids, vitamins, inorganic salts and sugars. The final product, prepared from the
sterile filtrate culture fluid contains proteins, including the 83kDa protective antigen protein, released
during the growth period. The final product contains no dead or live bacteria. The final product is
formulated to contain 1.2 mg/mL aluminum, added as aluminum hydroxide in 0.85% sodium chloride.
The product is formulated to contain 25 mg/mL benzethonium chloride and 100 mg/mL formaldehyde,
added as preservatives.
Anthrax occurs globally and is most common in agricultural regions with inadequate control programs
for anthrax in livestock. Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the Gram-positive, spore-forming
bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The spore form of Bacillus anthracis is the predominant phase of the
bacterium in the environment and it is largely through the upt ake of spores that anthrax disease is
contracted. Spore forms are markedly resistant to heat, cold, pH, desiccation, chemicals and
irradiation. Following germination at the site of infection, the bacilli can also enter the blood and lead
to septicemia. Antibiotics are effective against the germinated form of Bacillus anthracis, but are not
effective against the spore form of the organism.
The disease occurs most commonly in wild and domestic animals, primarily cattle, sheep, goats and
other herbivores. In humans, anthrax disease can result from contact with animal hides, leather or
hair products from contaminated animals, or from other exposures to Bacillus anthracis spores. It
occurs in three forms depending upon the route of infection: cutaneous anthrax, gastrointestinal
anthrax and inhalation anthrax.
Cutaneous anthrax is the most commonly reported form in humans (> 95% of all anthrax cases). It
can occur when the bacterium enters a cut or abrasion on the skin, such as when handling
contaminated meat, wool, hides, leather or hair products from infected animals or other contaminated
materials. The symptoms of cutaneous anthrax begin with an itchy reddish-brown papule on exposed
skin surfaces and may appear approximately 1-12 days after contact. The lesion soon develops a
small vesicle. Secondary vesicles are sometimes seen. Later the vesicle ruptures and leaves a
painless ulcer that typically develops a blackened eschar with surrounding swollen tissue. There are
often associated systemic symptoms such as swollen glands, fever, myalgia, malaise, vomiting and
headache. The case fatality rate for cutaneous anthrax is estimated to be 20% without antibiotic
Gastrointestinal anthrax usually begins 1-7 days after ingestion of meat contaminated with anthrax
spores. There is acute inflammation of the intestinal tract with nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and
fever followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood and bloody diarrhea. There can also be
involvement of the pharynx with sore throat, dysphagia, fever, lesions at the base of the tongue or
tonsils and regional lymphadenopathy. The case fatality rate is unknown but estimated to be 25% to
Inhalation (pulmonary) anthrax has been reported to occur from 1-43 days after exposure to
aerosolized spores.1 Studies in rhesus monkeys indicate that a small number of inhaled spores may
remain viable for at least 100 days following exposure.2 However, information on how long spores
remain viable in the lungs of humans is unavailable and the incubation period for inhalation anthrax is
unknown. Initial symptoms are non-specific and may include sore throat, mild fever, myalgia,
coughing and chest discomfort lasting up to a few days. The second stage develops abruptly with
findings such as sudden onset of fever, acute respiratory distress with pulmonary edema and pleural
effusion followed by cyanosis, shock and coma. Meningitis is common. The fatality rate for inhalation
anthrax in the U.S. is estimated to be approximately 45% to 90%. From 1900 to October 2001, there
were 18 identified cases of inhalation anthrax in the U.S., the latest of which was reported in 1976,
with an 89% (16/18) mortality rate. Most of these exposures occurred in industrial settings, i.e., textile
mills.3 From October 4, 2001, to December 5, 2001, a total of 11 cases of inhalation anthrax linked to
intentional dissemination of Bacillus anthracis spores were identified in the U.S. Five of these cases