Anthrax Definition, Reason, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention

Anthrax Definition, Reason, Symptom, Treatment, Prevention

Anthrax Definition

Anthrax is an infectious disease that is transmitted from animals that carry the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can cause a variety of symptoms and attacks – it can be on the skin, digestive tract, and respiratory tract.

Anthrax that attacks the respiratory tract can generally be fatal, even causing the sufferer to die. Cases of anthrax are actually very rare. However, the bacteria that causes anthrax, in some cases, are often used by terrorists as biological weapons or in bioterrorism attacks.

Anthrax Reason

Anthrax is caused by infection with the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. This bacterium infects animals, especially cattle. Humans can get anthrax if they come into contact with sick animals or use products from sick animals (eg skin or fur). However, not everyone is so easily susceptible to contracting this bacterium.

Anthrax is more susceptible to certain people, such as:

  • Breeder
  • Veterinarian
  • People who work in meat processing plants
  • Military forces vulnerable to bioterrorism

Anthrax Diagnosis

At the initial stage, the doctor will conduct a complete interview, especially regarding the possibility of the patient’s contact with animals or animal products suffering from anthrax. Then the doctor will also perform a thorough physical examination, including the skin and oral cavity.

If symptoms of anthrax appear on the skin, it is necessary to perform a technique for examining skin fluid under a microscope with methylene blue or Giemsa staining. If the patient has more severe symptoms such as high fever or shortness of breath, a blood culture may also be required. In addition, if there are symptoms of respiratory distress, a chest X-ray will be required to confirm the problem.

Anthrax Symptom

If the patient is exposed to anthrax bacteria as a result of contact with sick animals, the symptoms of anthrax usually occur in the form of skin disorders. These symptoms generally appear 1–7 days after coming into contact with a sick animal.

On the skin, there will be open sores or blisters that feel itchy. In no time, the wound became a festering ulcer. These sores usually appear on the skin of the arms, head, or neck.

Severe injuries to the skin often cause the surrounding lymph nodes to swell. Sores and ulcers on the skin due to anthrax can last for two weeks before eventually turning into scar tissue that causes permanent scars on the skin.

Anthrax bacteria that enter the body by inhalation into the respiratory tract generally begin to cause symptoms 2-7 days later. Symptoms begin with fever and swelling in the neck. Then a wound appears in the oral cavity. The sores will widen and form a kind of membrane or membranes in the mouth within two weeks.

In addition, the patient will generally experience a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Bleeding in the oral cavity may also occur. These symptoms often cause anthrax that enters the respiratory tract to be dangerous.

If the anthrax bacteria enter through the digestive tract, symptoms will generally appear about 2-5 days after the bacteria is ingested by the patient. The main symptoms are fever and abdominal pain. In addition, nausea and vomiting, even vomiting blood can also occur. If vomiting blood is profuse, the patient can go into shock.

Anthrax Treatment

Anthrax is treated with antibiotics. The type of antibiotic and the duration of antibiotic administration depend on the symptoms experienced by the patient. But in general, antibiotics that are commonly used are doxycycline or quinolones (such as ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin).

If there is a condition of severe shortness of breath or shock, treatment in the intensive care unit needs to be done.

Anthrax Prevention

To prevent contracting anthrax, those who work with animals or animal products daily should wash their hands regularly with running water and soap after each work. In addition, during work, it is important to always use complete personal protective equipment in the form of masks, goggles ( a kind of protective glasses), gloves, and an apron.

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