Anthrax is a serious, life-threatening infection that is caused by Bacillus anthracis, a type of bacteria. The bacteria is found mainly in soil and can cause anthrax in animals and humans. If the bacteria enters the body it can cause severe pneumonia, difficulty breathing, and even death. Although anthrax is treatable, it is considered deadly if left untreated.
Causes of Anthrax
Anthrax is spread when someone comes in contact with an infected animal or object. Animals can become infected after ingesting spores in contaminated food or water. Humans can be exposed through contact with an infected animal, contaminated animal products, or spores in the air.
Symptoms of Anthrax
The symptoms of anthrax infections depend on how the bacteria enters the body. It can cause skin infections, inhalation infections, or gastro-intestinal infections.
- Skin infections– Symptoms of a skin infection may include a raised, itchy lesion on the skin that forms a black center.
- Inhalation infections– Symptoms of an inhalation infection may include fever, chest pain, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
- Gastro-intestinal infections– Symptoms of a gastro-intestinal infection may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea.
Treatment for the Deadly Disease
The treatment for anthrax depends on how it has entered the body and how severe the symptoms are. Treatment may include antibiotics, supportive care, and in severe cases, hospitalization.
Preventing Anthrax to Improve Health
The best way to prevent anthrax is to avoid contact with contaminated animal products or objects. It is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and carefully disposing of animal waste. Vaccines can also help reduce the risk of infection, but they are not always available. It is also important to report any suspicious animal products to the local health department.