- Inhaled—from breathing airborne spores into the lungs
- Cutaneous (or skin)—due to spores entering a cut or break in the skin (most common)
- Gastrointestinal—from ingesting spores in raw or undercooked food
|Anthrax Can Enter the Body Through the Lungs|
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- Infected animals
- Infected animal products
- Spores in environment
- Working in a laboratory with anthrax bacteria
- Working with anthrax-infected animals or their products (such as at a farm, leather tannery, woolery, veterinary clinic)
- Exposure to criminal acts or biologic terrorism
- Muscle aches
- Severe difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Raised bump, like an insect bite, that is itchy and round
- Raised area opens, forming an ulcer with a black area in the center and producing drainage of clear or pinkish fluid
- Swelling around the wound
- Swollen, painful lymph nodes
- Swelling in throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sore throat
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody diarrhea
Public Health Measures
- Avoid contact with infected animals or animal products.
- Do not touch fluid draining from an anthrax wound.
Handle suspicious mail properly:
- Do not open mail from an unknown source.
- Do not shake packages.
- Do not smell or taste contents.
- Put the parcel down and immediately wash your hands with soap and warm water.
- Call local law enforcement.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
US Army Surgeon General's Office Anthrax Vaccine Information Program http://www.anthrax.osd.mil
US Department of Health and Human Services http://www.hhs.gov
BC Centre for Disease Control http://www.bccdc.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Anthrax. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated January 15, 2013. Accessed May 15, 2013.
Anthrax. Center for Disease Control CDC website. Available at: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax. Accessed May 15, 2013.
Anthrax. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/anthrax/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed May 15, 2013.
Consensus statement: anthrax as a biological weapon: medical and public health management. JAMA. 1999;281.
Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 5th ed. Churchill Livingstone Inc; 2000.
Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Churchill Livingstone Inc; 2005.
Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States: recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices (ACIP). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2000 Dec 15.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2013 -
- Update Date: 06/20/2013 -