Anthrax Elsa Berry

What is it?

Anthrax or Bacillus athracis is: Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacterium, 1 - 1.2µm in width and 3 - 5µm in length. It appears as a white powder often related to powdered sugar and is difficult to discern from other substances.

Common Symptoms & Body Damage

Symptoms begin 1 day - 2 months after contraction and is most commonly identified as a small blister with surrounding swelling that often turns into a painless ulcer with a black center.

Symptoms also vary on the way you have contracted anthrax theses are listed below but are certainly not limited to:

  1. Skin - ulcer as listed above
  2. Inhalation - fever, chest pain, shortness of breath
  3. Intestinal - nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  4. Injection - fever, access at site of drug injection

How does it spread?

Whenever you come into contact with the spores of bacteria (often infectious animal products) through either breathing or eating, through an area of broken skin. Although it does not typically spread between people, certain careers and occupations are at higher risks such as;

  • People who handle animals or animal products
  • Travelers
  • Postal workers
  • Military personnel

How many people are infected?

Per year in the US only about 2 people contract anthrax. Overall in the world about 20,000 cases are reported annually as well.


Most people who are at high risk to contract anthrax should get a vaccination, but 2 months worth of antibiotics after exposure can prevent infection. Depending on the severity and type you are exposed to you will be given antibiotics and in some cases, antitoxins.

Fun facts!

1. Emerged in WWI as a biological weapOn

2. Is recognized as a category A agent

3. In the 9/11 attacks, 5 people died and 17 people were sickened with anthrax.


Created By
Elsa Berry

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