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The bacterium Bacillus anthracis occurs worldwide, its natural habitat is the soil. The pathogen causes the often fatal ending anthrax (Anthrax) in humans and in herbivorous animals such as cows or sheep.
95 percent by a Bacillus anthracis infection lead to all cutaneous anthrax, initially manifested by a painless, itchy papules on the hands, forearms or face, the black turns later from the center. but the bacterium can other forms of anthrax as Inhalation anthrax or Gastrointestinal anthrax trigger. All three forms can include one anthrax sepsis entail that ends in a few hours fatal.
The bacteria form resistant survival structures (spores), which can remain viable for decades in nature. In the body, Bacillus anthracis is a special capsule of D-glutamic acid, which protects the pathogen from the scavenger cells of the immune system.
Especially in southern Europe and South America there are often anthrax disease caused by Bacillus anthracis in farm animals. The disease can also be transmitted to humans (zoonosis), mostly through contact with infected animals or animal products that are contaminated with Bacillus anthracis. Most commonly Bacillus anthracis rarely passes through skin injuries in the human body via the mouth, the digestive tract or by inhaling the spores. Animals take the bacteria with their food.
Anthrax disease in humans are becoming less common worldwide. In the US, only 17 anthrax cases were reported from 1972 to 1981. However, the pathogen has since gained importance as a biological weapon. 2001, five people died in the United States by anthrax-contaminated letters.
For treatment of Bacillus anthracis infection antibiotics are used. To infection with Bacillus anthracis prevent, you should avoid contact with infected animals (even if they are already deceased) and burn animal carcasses.