Anthrax

Description
  • Anthrax is a very dangerous disease caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis.
     
Location
  • Anthrax is rare in the United States and is more commonly found in agricultural regions in:
    • Central and South America
    • Asia
    • Southern Europe
    • The Caribbean
  • Outbreaks can occur in the U.S in both wild and domestic animals. These animals include deer and livestock.

     
Cause
  • Anthrax can naturally be found in soil, consequently infecting grazing animals both wild and domestic. 
  • Animals become infected when they inhale or consume the bacteria in contaminated soil, plants, water, etc.
  • It is rare for humans to get infected but can become contaminated by the bacteria entering the body through consumption, breathing, and open wounds and cuts. 
  • Causes can also come from ingesting raw meat from infected animals.
  • This is more common in areas that do not routinely vaccinate the livestock.

     
Symptoms

Symptoms can very depending on what type of infection is present and can take up to a few months to appear. Signs tend to form on the neck and arms, and can include:

  • Groups of small blisters
  • Skin sores (ulcers)
  • Swelling of the sore

Those who breathe in the bacteria can experience

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Aches
  • Sweats
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain

     
Treatment
  • Vaccines are available for animals with the disease and routinely vaccinations are important where the outbreak has already occurred.
     
Prevention
  • Anthrax is not contagious. Infection only occurs when the bacteria spores enter your body. 
  • Those who have already been exposed or have had Anthrax can benefit from antibiotics. If you work with animals in any setting, take extra precaution.
  • Do not consume raw meat from animals that were injected or could have been infected with Anthrax.
  • This is important when traveling to other countries where Anthrax is more common and animals are not properly vaccinated.

     
Handling
Animals    
  • Farmers, ranchers, slaughterhouse employees, and veterinarians have an increase risk of infection because of there exposure to animals. 
     
Other Facts
  • It has been known that infection can occur in people who play drums and instruments made with animal hide and fur.
  • Hides and furs that are imported are a potential risk. To be safe, only use hides and furs from animals from the U.S that are more likely to be healthy.