Related topics: antibiotics

Genomic study of 412 anthrax strains provides new virulence clues

By analyzing genomic sequences from more than 400 strains of the bacterium that causes anthrax, researchers have provided the first evidence that the severity – technically known as virulence – of specific strains may ...

Anthrax may have killed 100 hippos in Namibia

Over 100 hippos have died in Namibia in a remote national park in the past week, the country's environment minister said on Monday, warning that anthrax could be to blame.

Anthrax: A hidden threat to wildlife in the tropics

Anthrax, a disease so far not associated with tropical rain forests, is common in the Ivory Coast's Taï National Park and is posing a serious threat to wildlife there. The bacterium could soon even cause the extinction of ...

Preparing for (another) biological attack

In the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, five people died from exposure to anthrax-laced letters, and several more were infected. Fifteen years on, the U.S. has spent billions of dollars to fortify the nation's ...

Could hippos be meat eaters?

People often think hippos are herbivores with big smiling faces. Every now and then, reports of a hippo of hunting down prey, eating a carcass, or stealing prey from a crocodile are heard, but they're typically considered ...

Irradiated anthrax can be sequenced—fast

These days, mail addressed to selected government offices gets irradiated, in order to kill any biological agents, notably anthrax spores. The downside of this is that viable spores have been needed to identify the anthrax ...

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Anthrax

Anthrax is an acute disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. It affects both humans and animals and most forms of the disease are highly lethal. There are effective vaccines against anthrax, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.

Like many other members of the genus Bacillus, Bacillus anthracis can form dormant spores that are able to survive in harsh conditions for extremely long periods of time—even decades or centuries. Such spores can be found on all continents, even Antarctica. When spores are inhaled, ingested, or come into contact with a skin lesion on a host they may reactivate and multiply rapidly.

Anthrax commonly infects wild and domesticated herbivorous mammals which ingest or inhale the spores while browsing—in fact, ingestion is thought to be the most common route by which herbivores contract anthrax. Carnivores living in the same environment may become infected by consuming infected animals. Diseased animals can spread anthrax to humans, either by direct contact (e.g. inoculation of infected blood to broken skin) or consumption of diseased animals' flesh.

Anthrax spores can be produced in vitro and used as a biological weapon. Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another, but spores can be transported by clothing or shoes and the body of an animal that died of anthrax can also be a source of anthrax spores.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA