FunWhat is anthrax and how is it transmitted? A...

What is anthrax and how is it transmitted? A very dangerous disease

This week an outbreak of anthrax was registered in a bovine farm in Ciudad Real . According to data from the Veterinary Health Alert Network (Rasve) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), livestock has 340 susceptible animals, of which 26 have died.

The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the researchers focus their suspicions on an area of pasture that is usually covered by the Guadiana River but which has been discovered by the decrease in flow as the origin of the outbreak. At the moment, no human cases have been reported.

What is anthrax and who does it affect?

Anthrax is an acute disease caused by a bacterium called Bacillus Anthracis . The mortality rate is very high and affects all mammals, including humans. However, it is more common in herbivores, such as goats, sheep, cows, and horses.

The bacterium develops spores that show great resistance to both chemical and physiological agents . Once it enters the body, it multiplies at full speed, releasing toxins that cause tissue necrosis, edema and septicemia.

How is it spread?

It is a zoonotic disease since the route of transmission is through infected animals , by inhalation, ingestion or through skin wounds. For this reason, when anthrax affects humans, in the vast majority of cases they are farmers or veterinarians.

The infection can be spread from person to person by direct contact . Symptoms appear four to six weeks after the bacteria have entered the body as the incubation period is very long.

Bioterrorist weapon

It is a very dangerous disease, which is why it has great bioterrorist potential . The coils of the bacteria can be prepared in a fine powder format that is easy to inhale. For this reason, the bacterium Bacillus Anthracis is considered a level 1 biological agent, the highest category in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2001, a bioterrorist attack with anthrax took place in the United States . The spores of the bacteria were spread in envelopes sent through the Postal Service. 22 people were infected, and five of them died.

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