Logo femininebook.com
General Practice 2023

What é Anthrax, main symptoms and treatment

Table of contents:

What é Anthrax, main symptoms and treatment
What é Anthrax, main symptoms and treatment

Anthrax is a serious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which can cause infection when people come into direct contact with objects or animals contaminated by the bacterium, when they ingest contaminated meat from animals or when they inhale spores of this bacterium present in the environment.

Infection with this bacterium is quite serious and can compromise the functioning of the intestine and lungs, which can lead to coma and death in a few days after infection. Due to its toxic action, anthrax can be used as a biological weapon, having already been spread through dust on letters and objects as a form of terrorism.

Main symptoms

The symptoms of anthrax vary depending on how it is transmitted, the person's immune system, and the number of spores the person has come into contact with. Signs and symptoms of infection may begin to appear approximately 12 hours to 5 days after exposure to the bacteria, and may cause clinical manifestations according to the form of infection:

  • Cutaneous anthrax: it is the less serious form of the disease, it happens when the person comes into direct contact with the spores of the bacteria and can be characterized by the appearance of lumps and red blisters -brown on the skin that can rupture and form dark and painful ulcers on the skin, which may be accompanied by swelling, muscle pain, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.
  • Gintestinal anthrax: which occurs through the ingestion of contaminated animal meat, in which the toxins produced and released by the bacteria cause acute inflammation of this organ, which causes bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever;
  • Pulmonary anthrax: is considered the most serious form of the disease, as the spores lodge in the lungs, compromise breathing and can easily reach the bloodstream, which can lead to coma or death within 6 days after infection. Initial symptoms are usually flu-like, but progress quickly.

If the bacteria reach the brain, after reaching the bloodstream, it can cause very serious brain infection and meningitis, which is almost always fatal. Furthermore, all these manifestations are very serious and if not quickly identified and treated, they can lead to death.

How the transmission happens

Infection by Bacillus anthracis can happen through contact with objects or animals contaminated with spores of the bacteria, which most often are cows, goats and sheep. When the infection happens through contact with spores and leads to the appearance of skin symptoms, the infection can be easily transmitted from person to person.

Other forms of transmission of the disease are through the ingestion of contaminated meat or animal products and through the inhalation of spores, which is the most frequent form of transmission in the case of bioterrorism, for example. These two forms of transmission are not transmitted from person to person, however they are considered more serious, as the bacteria can more easily reach the bloodstream, spread to other parts of the body and cause more severe symptoms.

How the treatment is done

Anthrax infection is treated with antibiotics that must be used according to the guidance of the infectious disease specialist and/or general practitioner. In addition, medications can be recommended to neutralize the action of the toxin produced and released by the bacteria, thus preventing the development of the disease and relieving symptoms.

The anthrax vaccine is not available to the entire population, only to people who are more likely to be exposed to the bacteria, such as the military and scientists, for example.

Anthrax Prevention

As the spores of this bacterium are not present in the environment, only in reference laboratories for war purposes if necessary, the anthrax vaccine is available only for people considered to belong to the risk group, such as military personnel, scientists, laboratory technicians, textile workers and veterinarians.

As the bacteria can also be found in the digestive system or in the fur of animals, one way to prevent infection is by controlling the he alth of animals, thus reducing the presence of the bacteria in the environment.

In the case of using Bacillus anthracis as a form of bioterrorism, the best strategy to prevent infection and disease development is vaccination and the use of prescribed antibiotics for about 60 days.

Popular topic