Chapter 16.4 : Anthrax—

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., the etiologic agent of anthrax, is classified as a category A agent because of its suitability for and likelihood of use in an attack or biocrime. Disease occurs most frequently in herbivorous animals (e.g., cattle, sheep, and goats), which acquire the endospores from contaminated soil. Human disease is less common and results from contact with infected animals or with commercial products derived from them, such as wool and hides. Infection can occur in one of three forms, depending on the route of acquisition. (i) Cutaneous anthrax, responsible for >95% of naturally occurring cases, is initiated when spores of . are introduced into the skin through cuts or abrasions, such as when handling contaminated wool, hides, leather, or hair products (especially goat hair) from infected animals ( ). There are a few case reports of transmission by insect bites, presumably after the insect fed on an infected carcass ( ). This form is rarely fatal following appropriate antimicrobial therapy. (ii) Gastrointestinal anthrax may occur 1 to 7 days following the consumption of contaminated under-cooked meat from infected animals. Pharyngeal lesions may also occur from ingestion of contaminated food. Mortality in both forms is high ( ). (iii) Inhalation anthrax results from the inhalation of . spores. Though treatable in its early prodromal stage, mortality remains extremely high if antimicrobial treatment is not initiated within 48 h of the onset of symptoms ( ). A single case of inhalation anthrax should alert all health care workers to the possibility of a bioterrorism event ( ). Person-to-person transmission of inhalational anthrax has not been confirmed ( ).

Citation: Garcia L. 2010. Anthrax—, p 758-765. In Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, 3rd Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817435.ch16.4
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Figure 16.4-1

. sentinel level laboratory flowchart.

Citation: Garcia L. 2010. Anthrax—, p 758-765. In Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook, 3rd Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817435.ch16.4
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