The History of the Anthrax Bacterium.
Anthrax refers to the disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. These bacteria form what is called an endospore which is a long-lived structure that can withstand very destructive environments. And it is these spores that have the ability to cause lethal infections. It is rarely seen in people and mostly affects hoofed animals, which become infected after ingesting the dormant forms of the bacteria – the spores – in soil. The only way to be infected is by being exposed to large numbers of spores. The symptoms include flu-like symptoms, extensive internal haemorrhage (extensive bleeding due to ruptured blood vessels within the body and not visible externally), and meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain and spinal cord). There is a vaccine against anthrax, but it isn’t available to the general public and is usually used only for military personnel. It is infrequent in western Europe and the US and is more often found in south and central America, south and east Europe, Asia and Africa. Traditionally people most at risk are those who work with animals or in industries processing animal products such as meat and wool.
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