What to Do in the Event of an Anthrax Attack

Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium that forms spores.  It can affect that skin, lungs and the digestive system. Usually Anthrax is spread by animals or by breathing in anthrax spores from infected animal product like wool. People have also been infected with the gastrointestinal type by eating undercooked meat from animals infected with the bacteria.



Anthrax has been used as a bio-terrorist weapon.  This happened in the United States in 2001 when a contaminated letter filled with powder containing anthrax was deliberately spread through the postal system.



Anthrax is classified by the Centers for Disease Control as a Category A agent.  This means that it can spread across a large area quickly and that it poses the greatest possible threat to public health.



If it is spread by skin contact then anthrax develops into sore black blisters that do not hurt. If it is ingested then the person experiences nausea, bloody diarrhea and fever.  If it is inhaled flue symptoms develop as well as  shortness of breath.  The symptoms usually occur within seven days of transmission but can also take as long as 42 days afterwords. Black mold is said to be the most deadly.



Antibiotics are used to treat all three types of anthrax so early identification of the symptoms are necessary.  Treatment is usually a sixty-day course of antibiotics.  The types of antibiotics used t treat it include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, doxycycline or penicillin.



If you feel that you have been the victim of an anthrax attack you need to contact law enforcement right away. This is especially true if you have received a suspicious package or envelope that you think might contain anthrax powder. Since 2001 the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta in the United States has been working with doctors, veterinarians and health departments to help deal with another terrorist attack that deploys anthrax.  There is supposed to be, over a decade later after the initial attack, enough supplies to deal with deal with an instance of bio-terrorism.



Anthrax is difficult to treat because it is rare. However politicians and members of the U.S. armed forces are immunized against it. It is not foreseeable in the future that an immunization will be available to the general public in the next few years despite the fact that twenty four people were hurt badly in the anthrax attack that was spread through the U.S. postal service in 2001.