Section 17. Infectious Diseases >
Part 5. Bacterial Infections >
Chapter 251. Anthrax (Bacillus Anthracis)Denise Bratcher
Topics Discussed: anthrax disease; bacillus anthracis; cutaneous anthrax; gastrointestinal anthrax; infectious diseases; inhalational anthrax.
Excerpt:"Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the gram-positive,
encapsulated, nonmotile, spore-forming rod Bacillus anthracis.1,2 The
incubation period is 1 to 7 days after exposure, and no person-to-person
transmission is documented. Its potential as an agent of bioterrorism
should prompt immediate notification of the local or state health
department upon first suspicion of an anthrax-like illness. Human
anthrax cases arise after exposure to infected animals or their
products and rarely occur in the United States. In 2001, B
anthracis spores intentionally delivered through the US
Postal Serviceresulted in 22 cases of bioterrorism-related
anthrax.3 Anthrax infections occur as cutaneous, inhaled, and gastrointestinal.
All forms can progress to sepsis and meningitis. Cutaneous
anthrax appears when B anthracis spores
enter through a cutaneous abrasion.4 A small erythematous papule
vesiculates to form a painless eschar with marked edema. Lymphadenopathy
or lymphangitis may occur. Untreated, mortality is as high as 20%...."
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