Anthrax

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Commonality is rare
CriticalCare = Yes
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Anthrax

 

Anthrax is a potentially lethal acute infection caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which can affect both humans and animals. Infection can be of the skin, the lungs, or in rare cases, the gastrointestinal tract.

B. anthracis exists primarily as dormant spores, which are able to survive for decades, unaffected by hot or cold temperature conditions. They are often found in soil, and can infect grazing animals. When humans have contact with infected animals, animal products or meat, transmission is likely, even with minimal contact. Anthrax can be transmitted through inhaling, ingesting or skin contact with the spores, although they cannot be transferred between humans.

Once the spores have entered the host’s system, they reactivate and the bacteria multiply rapidly while releasing a number of toxins. Together, these result in the symptoms typical of anthrax infection. These symptoms will vary, depending on how the spores were transmitted.

Anthrax is viewed as a potential tool for biological warfare, as the spores are easily spread through the air, and can be inhaled. A number of effective vaccinations against anthrax have been developed, and these are usually given to those considered to be at high risk of exposure to the spores. This includes the majority of members in the armed forces.


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