Anthrax has three major forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. If left untreated, anthrax in all forms can lead to death.
1. How is anthrax transmitted?
Anthrax infection can occur in three forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. Humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals, inhaling anthrax spores from contaminated animal products, or by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. It is rare to find infected animals in the United States.
2. What are the symptoms of anthrax?
Symptoms of disease usually occur within 7 days and symptoms vary depending on how the disease was contracted-cutaneous (skin), inhalation, or intestinal.
3. Can anthrax be spread from person to person?
Direct person-to-person spread of anthrax is extremely unlikely to occur. Communicability is not a concern in managing or visiting with patients with inhalational anthrax.
4. Is there a way to prevent infection?
In countries where anthrax is common and vaccination levels of animal herds are low, humans should avoid contact with livestock and animal products and avoid eating meat that has not been properly slaughtered and cooked. Also, an anthrax vaccine has been licensed for use in humans. The vaccine is reported to be 93% effective in protecting against anthrax.
5. Is there a treatment for anthrax?
Doctors can prescribe effective antibiotics. To be effective, treatment should be initiated early. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.