Topics: Bacteria, Immune system, Microbiology Pages: 2 (516 words) Published: April 21, 2013
Dobrinka Atanasova
Anthrax is acute infectious disease that affects humans and other mammals. The causative agent of Anthrax is Bacillus anthracis. Bacillus anthrasic is a rod-shaped bacterium that forms spores (3). As we know, spores can survive many, many years in harsh conditions. Furthermore, the bacterium is also Gram-positive, encapsulated and aerobic (2).

Anthrax can enter and affect the body via the skin, the lungs or gastrointestinal tract. The first one, the skin, is the least deadly. The anthrax spores penetrate the skin by using small cuts and scratches. After that they grow into toxin-producing bacteria that strike the surrounding tissue, causing swelling, than fluid-blisters and last black, ulcerous lesion. The Immune cells can carry the microbes to the lymph nodes, where they multiply and then spread via the bloodstream to other organs in the body (1). The second and most deadly route of entry is by inhaling airborne spores in the lungs. The spores settle in the alveoli of the lungs and can take up to 60 days until it start to germinate. The symptoms are flulike in the beginning, but then they evolve into fever, chest pain, problems with breathing, shock, coma, and at the end death. Again, the way the microbes are transported is via the Immune cells, to the lymph nodes, and from there to the bloodstream (1). The third way of anthrax entry into the body is through the gastrointestinal tract and is the second deadly anthrax infection. The spores can infect the body by consuming contaminated, undercook meat. The symptoms are vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, and severe cramps. The bacteria eat the intestinal lining and spread to the closest tissue. After that, the Immune cells send to destroy the intruder carry the microbes to the lymph nodes and after multiplication, enters the bloodstream and affects other organs (1).

Bacillus anthracis has three virulence factors- “edema toxin, lethal toxin, and a...

References: 1. Begley, S, Isikoff, M, Klaidman, D, Contreras, J, Peraino, K, Check, E, & Croal, N n.d. 2001. Anxious About Anthrax. Newsweek. 138, 28.
2. “Anthrax”
3. “Bacillus anthracis: causative agent of anthrax”
4. “What is Anthrax?”
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