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Anthrax: A Spraeding Scare

Have you ever been afraid to open up your mail? Recently, after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Towers, many people have. Everyone is terrified to open their mail because they're scared it might contain anthrax and kill them. I know this is very serious, but I don't completely understand why everyone is so scared of anthrax. What it is? Everyone is terrified of it and I don't even know exactly what this is all about. Anthrax is a serious issue and by finding out what it is we can understand it and find out if we should worry.
Anthrax is a dangerous bacterium, bacillus anthracis, which wasfirst documented in 1876. This rod-shaped microbe grows in soil, where it can be ingested by sheep, cows, horses, and goats. That's why anthrax is labeled a veterinary disease, and why those most likely to contract it work with animal products. In the October 22, 2001 issue of People an article quotes:
Up to this point the rare person who contracts the disease has been exposed to anthrax from soil where the bacteria are normally found or has handled or eaten animals infected from dirt. It can survive for decades in the soil, but sunlight will kill it quickly if it becomes airborne. It is most dangerous when it is inhaled. If your lungs are infected, you will probably be ill within two to 10 days, although in some cases there are no signs of illness for up to 60 days ("Silent Killer" 66).
There are several types of anthrax that may be contracted. They are cutaneous, inhalation, and gastrointestinal anthrax. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common naturally occurring type of infection and usually occurs after skin contact with contaminated meat, wool, hides, or leather from infected animal (" FAQ's about Anthrax" 3). The most lethal form of anthrax is inhalational. This type is the one that can be sent through the mail and is very deadly. The anthrax spores must be aerosolized in order to cau…

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