Anthrax is a bacterial disease, which means it is caused by pathogenic bacteria. It is commonly found in the inactive spore form, which can be on anything from animal skins to soil.
Symptoms of anthrax include: headache, cough, muscle aches, trouble breathing, stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea. Depending on the form of anthrax (Lung, Skin, or Stomach) it can be acute or chronic. The anthrax can affect the respiratory system, digestive system, and the integumentary system. The lethal forms of anthrax are lung and stomach anthrax
If one was exposed to anthrax, there are certain antibiotics one could take to prevent the disease even if the spores are already in the body. The type of antibiotics necessary depend on the type of anthrax. Lung Anthrax or Pneumonia could have very different antibiotics from Skin Anthrax. There is a vaccine available for anthrax but is currently limited to only military members.
Anthrax is not very common throughout the United States. 2 people in Connecticut and one person from New York got the disease while working with animal skins. In 2001, there was a terrorist plot which put anthrax spores into letters and sent them throughout the country. Five people all died from lung anthrax. The disease is mostly common in agricultural places such as Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, southern and eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
Sources: http://www.idph.state.il.us/Bioterrorism/anthraxfctsht.htm http://www.sfcdcp.org/anthrax.html