Anthrax

Topics: Microbiology, Anthrax, Robert Koch Pages: 3 (733 words) Published: June 5, 2013
Anthrax is an infectious disease and it is caused by Bacillus anthracis. It is also called Splenic Fever, or Charbon. There are three types of Anthrax, there is cutaneous (anthrax of the skin,) inhalation anthrax, and gastrointestinal anthrax. Anthrax is a large, rod shaped bacterium. It mostly affects animals but also can be transmitted to humans.

Anthrax’s first incident was in 1500 B.C. in the early writings of Mesopotamia and the Book of Genesis. The Old Testament description of the 5th and 6th Egyptian plagues showed the average symptoms of anthrax. In 1876, an epidemic of farm animals with anthrax influenced Robert Koch to search for a cause. He experimented with mice, and found results like anthrax. His experiments were a major step towards formulating the postulates of causation of infectious diseases which now bears his name. Louis Pasteur was not convinced that Koch did a good job at proving that Bacillus Anthracis causes anthrax. So in 1880, Pasteur vaccinated two different groups of cattle with a Bacillus anthracis strain. One group was treated with his vaccine while the other group was not. All the vaccinated animals survived and the others died, Pasteur then had proof that Bacillus anthracis causes anthrax.

There is a little known 1770 epidemic that killed 15,000 people in Saint-Domingue, now known as Haiti, was most likely anthrax. The epidemic spread rapidly throughout the colony due to the consumption of uncooked beef. Only 256 reported deaths have occurred from 1955 to 1999 by anthrax.

Anthrax is acute. It can enter the human body through the intestines, lungs, or skin. Most cases involve anthrax going through a cut on the skin. One to 12 days after the exposure the infection develops and starts as a raised bump that itches, it looks likes an insect bite. People infected may have a fever and headache.

Inhalation is the most lethal form of anthrax. The development period in humans is unclear, but is believed to range from...
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