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Acute Communicable Disease Control
Anthrax
See how Anthrax attacks

Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Naturally occurring anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores) when they ingest spores from soil, and it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or to tissue from infected animals or if anthrax spores are used as a bioterrorist weapon.

Although human anthrax is infrequent and sporadic in the United States, human cases (primarily cutaneous) continue to be reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. While anthrax contaminated soil exists in many foci throughout the United States, the number of cases reported annually, prior to the 2001 bioterrorism-related outbreak, had declined over the last five decades; in the United States, five human cutaneous cases were reported between 1981-1996. In 2006, a case of inhalational anthrax acquired from animal drum hides from Africa occurred in a resident of New York City, prior to that the last known naturally acquired inhalational anthrax case in the United States occurred in 1976. During the 2001 bioterrorism-related anthrax outbreak, 11 inhalational anthrax and 11 cutaneous anthrax cases occurred.


         

         
 
           NOTE TO ALL HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS:
    If you suspect that a patient is infected with Anthrax, immediately call Acute Communicable Disease Control to assist with diagnosis and implementation of infection control.

    (213) 240-7941 (7:30AM-5:00PM, Mon-Fri)
    (213) 974-1234 (After Hours, Emergency Operator)


     



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