Anthrax Shape and Size Bacteria cells are the long, curved cells. Human cells are the larger, rounded cells.
Anthrax Spores False-color spores Small circles are spores The spore stage is useful in making biological weapons. It will survive in conditions that will kill a living cell.
Scanning Electron Microscope Photograph The typical rod shaped cell of Bacillus anthracis. Note the cells just divided in the upper right.
Anthrax in Wild Animals Note the bloody discharge about the nose. Possible inhalation anthrax.
Three types described by route of infection Skin / Cutaneous Skin / Cutaneous Lungs / Inhalation Lungs / Inhalation Food / Gastrointestinal Food / Gastrointestinal
Cutaneous Cutaneous anthrax Most anthrax infections occur through a cut on the skin. About 2,000 cases are reported annually. Symptoms Skin infections begin as an itchy bump which over 2-6 days develops into a boil and then a depressed black skin lesion.
Cutaneous Effects After the spores germinate they release toxins which damage the skin tissues. The disease can spread throughout the body, but deaths are rare. With treatment mortality is less than 1%. Treatment The antibiotic being used to treat the current cases in the US is ciprofloxacin, known in the UK as ciproxin.
Infection of Arm Notice the dark sore on the patient’s arm.
Pulmonary Anthrax Inhalation / Pulmonary anthrax This is the rarest form of the disease. Between 1900 and 1978 only 18 cases were recorded in the US. Symptoms Initially coughs and sneezes, much like a common cold. Within 36 hours chest pains, severe breathing problems and shock will develop. This type of anthrax usually results in death after about two days.
Pulmonary Anthrax Effects The spores are absorbed through the alveoli into the lymph system. They may not become active for up to two months. Once they germinate they release toxins which rapidly leads to hemorrhaging. Any delay administering antibiotics will reduce the chances of survival. Mortality rate for this type of anthrax is about 89%. Treatment The antibiotic being used to treat the current cases in the US is ciprofloxacin, known in the UK as ciproxin.
Pulmonary Anthrax Notice the dark red patches in the otherwise bright red lung tissue. The dark parches are the site of infection.
Pulmonary Anthrax CT scan through chest. Shows enlarged blood- filled lymph nodes (blue arrows) next to main stem bronchi and fluid surrounding both lungs (red arrows).
Pulmonary Anthrax The arrows indicate the areas of fluid buildup due to infection
Gastrointestinal Anthrax Gastrointestinal anthrax This type of the disease is rare and develops after a person eats meat contaminated with anthrax. Symptoms Intestinal anthrax is characterized by acute inflammation of the gut. Initial nausea, loss of appetite, fever and vomiting is followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood and acute diarrhea.
Gastrointestinal Anthrax Effects Without treatment it results in death for 24% to 60% of cases. Treatment Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics.