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Anthrax

Antrhax, Bacilus anthracis, is a bacterial pathogen. This rod-shaped microbe is commonly found in soil and is ingested by sheep, cows, horses, and goats; thus, it is labeled as a vetrinary disease.Anthrax is what’s called a “gram positive” bacterium. This means it has the type of cell walls which are harmless, unlike the cell walls of “gram negative” bacteria, which attack tissue. Therefore, anthrax can only attack tissue by producing a special toxin which it excretes. One cell or spore does not produce enough toxin to start an infection. Anthrax is deadly in its spore form. When environmental conditions are detrimental to the bacteria, the rod shaped pathogen desicates. Soon after, the cell breaks and begins sporulating. In this stage, the bacteria can remain dorment, surviving for decades. Then, when environmental conditions are favorable, the spore germinates and returns to its rod shaped form and begins forming clusters. Since the human body acts as a culture medium for the bacteria, anthracis is not likely to sporulate inside the human body; due to this, anthrax is not contagious since a person will not be transmitting spores to another person. Moreover, anthrax is not contagious due to the high number of spores that are required to infect a person (aproximately 10,000).
There are three ways of contracting anthrax – cutaneous, pulminary, and ingestional. In cutaneous contraction, the anthrax spores enter the skin through minor cuts and abrasions. The infected area starts to welt or swell, progressing from a fluid filled blister to a black ulcerous lesion lasting up to two weeks. The mortality rate for this condition is 20 %. Under a pulminary contraction of anthrax, the anthrax sproes occupy the alvioli. Likely symptoms are flu like conditions with fever and chest pains that can lead to breathing problems, shock, coma and death. This type of contraction has the highest rate of mortality – 90 %. Finally, ingestional contracti…

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