Anthrax that time. Writings from ancient Rome and

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Last updated: September 19, 2019

Anthrax is an uncommon infection caused by the spore forming, gram positive soil organism Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can be found naturally in soil in multiple regions of the world. It mostly affects domestic and wild animals around the world, but rarely in domestic animals in the United States since they are vaccinated for anthrax. Even though it is extremely rare in the United States, people still have a chance of getting infected with anthrax if there is contact with infected animals or contaminated products from animals. Any physical contact with anthrax can likely cause deadly side effects in both humans and animals.

Fortunately, there are antibiotics that can fight anthrax from spreading in people who not developed symptoms yet. Ciprofloxacin and doxycycline are two of the antibiotics that is used to stop anthrax. Anthrax has been used as a bio weapon around the world for almost a hundred years. In the year 2001, powdered form anthrax spores were purposely inserted into letters that were sent through the U.S.

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postal system killing 5 people.  Anthrax is quite in common in most regions in the world. The western North American grasslands is an ideal environment for anthrax to thrive and could have persisted for over 10,000 years.  In the old world anthrax is believed to have emerged in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Highly educated scholars think that one of the ten plagues of Egypt described in the Bible could have been anthrax a disease affecting life stock during that time. Writings from ancient Rome and Greece also recorded cases of anthrax outbreaks in populations of livestock and people. Many people think anthrax was depicted in The Iliad and in poems by Virgil, who lived from seventy to nineteen BC.

The first scientific study of anthrax was by Maret and Fournier in the late 1700s. Before this occurred, anthrax had only been described in historical events. Renowned scientist Robert Koch studied Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that creates anthrax. He discovered pores formed from the bacteria and were able to thrive in multiple environments for long periods of time. During the 1800s, doctors encountered cases of anthrax but were unable to diagnose the disease. Around this time, the organism that causes anthrax had not been discovered yet, but doctors connected the disease with the animal hair industry. By the mid 1800s, scientists had related the disease with the presence of rod-shaped bodies that were seen in the blood of infected animals. Over time these bodies were identified as bacteria and given the scientific name Bacillus anthracis.

In the year 1881 Louis Pasteur, a renowned French chemist created the first anthrax vaccination for animals. Years later in 1944, scientist discovered penicillin could be used to treat anthrax, and it replaced medical therapies prior to the discovery. Finally, in the 1950s after years of research a vaccine was created for humans. Two decades later in the 1970s, the vaccine was updated replacing the vaccine from the 1950s. This updated vaccine is the same vaccine we use today.

(“Anthrax”, 2017) Common wild and domestic animals can come in contact with anthrax when they breathe or ingest spores from areas with contaminated soil, plants, or water. In known areas of past anthrax outbreaks, routine vaccination can help prevent future outbreaks in domestic animals. People can easily get infected with anthrax when spores enter the body. Anthrax spores become activated when they enter the body.

Causing the bacteria to spread throughout the body causing severe illness. Infection is possible when people drink or eat food with anthrax, inhale active spores or physically through a cut or scrap. Symptoms include fever, chills, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, confusion, dizziness, cough, Nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, headaches, Sweats, Body aches, and extreme tiredness.   

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