Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers engineer dual vaccine against anthrax and plague

A team of researchers has now engineered a virus nanoparticle vaccine against Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis, tier 1 agents that pose serious threats to national security of the United States.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

FDA issues final guidance on inhalational anthrax

(HealthDay)—Final guidance has been issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assist in the development of drugs for the prevention of inhalational anthrax for individuals who may have been exposed but who have ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Two cases of progressive cutaneous anthrax described

(HealthDay)—Two cases of cutaneous anthrax which started on the right forearm and progressed are described in a case report published online Dec. 12 in the International Journal of Dermatology.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Anthrax cases linked to use of vintage shaving brushes

(HealthDay)—During and after the First World War, there was an increase in anthrax cases associated with use of new shaving brushes, which were made of imported horsehair, according to research published in the May issue ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Anthrax spores use RNA coat to mislead immune system

Researchers from Harvard Medical School have discovered that the body's immune system initially detects the presence of anthrax spores by recognizing RNA molecules that coat the spores' surface. But this prompts an unfavorable ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Study generates Soviet anthrax pathogen genome from autopsy specimens

A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) used deep DNA sequencing methods to generate the anthrax genome sequence from the victims of the 1979 anthrax outbreak ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

21 infected in far north Russia anthrax outbreak

Russia on Tuesday confirmed 21 cases of anthrax, including one fatality, after an unusual heatwave melted permafrost in its remote far north, releasing potentially lethal spores from the soil.

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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.

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