"You sound like you have a cold," my grandpa said over the phone. "Yeah, I have had it for almost two months now but it seems to be getting better," I replied. "Gee, I hope it's not Anthrax!" he darted back at me without hesitation. After the routine small talk I hung up the phone since my mom was not home to talk to him. I thought to myself, "He is loosing it worse than I thought! Anthrax is only found in livestock." I told my mom he called and about the laugh I had but then she informed me that livestock was the most common carriers but not the only. After that incident, I started to ponder about this deadly disease. Is it a disease?.
To start, all I knew to be true about Anthrax is that it can kill people and that the vaccine is not available to the general public. After searching on the Internet for information I found the most common definition for Anthrax to be this: Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus Anthracis. The three parts of that bacterium are edema toxin, lethal toxin, and a capsular antigen. To me, this means nothing. It doesn't tell me how to avoid getting Anthrax or how it can be contracted. After reading deeper into it, I discovered that there are three major clinical forms: cutaneous, inhalation, and gastrointestinal. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
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 animals. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) It seems strange to me that this is the most common because meats have to be approved before being put on the shelves of stores.
Inhalation Anthrax is the most lethal form of Anthrax. The spores must be aerosolized (to disperse as an aerosol) in order to cause this type. The studies aren't too sure of how long it takes for the incubation process but it is suspected to be between one and seven days but could even take up to 60 days.