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mejor conocido como ántrax, es una infección bacteriana que puede transmitirse tanto animales como humanos, causado por el Bacillus anthracis, que se adquiere por medio del contacto con animales enfermos o muertos de fiebre esplénica. Anthrax, better known as anthrax, is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted both to animals and humans, caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is acquired through contact with diseased animals or those with splenic fever. But also when ingesting products of animal origin contaminated.

The name of the bacterium has its origin in the Greek term to refer to coal, due to ulcers with dark centers that are made on the This bacterium produces toxins with debilitating and deadly effects.

Human anthrax is the often fatal infection that begins when Bacillus anthracis endospores penetrate the body through skin scratches, inhalation or ingestion. It is a zoonosis that mainly affects the most susceptible herbivorous animals. The most common clinical form is cutaneous anthrax, usually curable, although a small percentage of these skin infections become systemic and can be fatal

-Carrada Bravo-

Who are the most affected?


The countries whose veterinary and health services are deficient. The incidence has been observed in countries and regions where there are no vaccination campaigns; no tienen los cuidados con los animales y aún así los sacrifican para comercializar la that is, they do not care for the animals and still sacrifice them to market the

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How is it transmitted?

Anthrax can be transmitted from animals to people. However, contagion is not easy. In fact, if precautions are taken at the time of contact with affected animals and corpses. People can become infected in the following way:

  • Contact. This is a non-fatal skin infection that affects people who handle animals or infected products.
  • Inhalation. This is highly deadly but rare. The people affected are the people who work with wool or the skin of sick animals.
  • Digestion. It is contracted by eating It is less dangerous but can be deadly.

How is it diagnosed?


The way to determine if the patient has anthrax is through a blood or other tissue test. Blood samples from corpses contain a large number of B. anthracis that can be seen under a microscope. You can also perform tests like the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The specialists cultivate and isolate the sample in the laboratory.

In case of suspicion of pulmonary anthrax, a chest x-ray or a computed tomography can confirm if the patient has mediastinal widening or pleural effusion, which are the typical findings in patients with pulmonary anthrax.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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How does it manifest?

The infection process begins from the moment the spores penetrate the pulmonary alveoli. They intoxicate the lungs and spread through the peribronchial and mediastinal nodes. Then they reach the

Next, the spores phagocytosed by the alveolar macrophages multiply , producing exotoxins and other viral factors. It is estimated that the incubation period is around 10 days; however, there are cases in which it takes up to 6 weeks.


Symptoms can occur in two phases, after five days of incubation the patient experiences:

Subsequently, the acute toxicity phase develops, in which it is presented:

  • Fever of 38.9 ° C.
  • Profuse sweating
  • Subcutaneous swelling
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Blue coloration on the skin.
  • Signs of attack to the general state.
  • Pulse and accelerated respiratory rate.

Anthrax treatment


It is recommended to apply doxycycline or ciprofloxacin for 6 weeks or more. However, there is also the absorbed anthrax (AAV) vaccine with aluminum hydroxide. It contains a protective antigen obtained from Bacillus anthracis Cepa Sterne.

Patients are administered a dose of 0.5 ml subcutaneously. Subsequently, a dose is given again at 4 weeks and at 6, 12 and 18 months to reinforce. Currently, research and analysis continue to create a safer and more potent vaccine.

Precautionary measures

Regardless of antibiotic treatments and immunization, it is necessary to follow specific procedures to control and prevent anthrax from spreading. For example:

  • Be careful when disposing of corpses (they should not be left open because the spores are formed when interacting with
  • The infected animals should be quarantined until the rest have been vaccinated and the corpses are disposed of. Either by incineration or burial with lime.
  • It is important to periodically clean and disinfect the area in which the animals are reared.
  • Finally, we must consume products from certified places.


Theodore Carrada-Bravo. Anthrax: Diagnosis, pathogenesis, prevention and treatments. Recent advances and perspectives.
Mexico: Mexican Institute of Social Security.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anthrax summary. . Basic guide to understand anthrax.
USA: 2014.

Division of Production and Animal Health. Bacterial carbuncle. EMPRES, 2015

Perret P Cecilia, Maggi C Leonardo, Pavletic B Carlos, Vergara F Rodrigo, Abarca V Katia, Dabanch P Jeannette et al. Anthrax (Carbunco). Rev. chil. infectol [Internet]. 2001 [cited 2017 Nov 20]; 18 (4): 291-299. Available at: