Antibiotics for Anthrax
Antibiotics for Anthrax Treatment - Antibiotics to Treat Anthrax - Antibiotics Used to Treat Anthrax - Anthrax in Animals
After the terrorist attack on 11 September, many people fear a new danger — biological warfare in the form of anthrax. Perhaps understandably, many Americans are taking antibiotics such as Cipro (ciprofloxacin) as a preventative measure. Data from the pharmaceutical tracking company NDCHealth of Atlanta, Georgia, show that almost 63,100 more Cipro prescriptions have been issued in the third week of October alone than for the entire previous year. However, this has caused some concern in the medical profession that antibiotic overuse could result in antibiotic resistance in many types of bacteria. Not surprisingly, the humanist-dominated secular media has used phrases such as ‘Bacteria evolve drug resistance very quickly’.
Anthrax - Understanding Bacillus Anthracis
Anthrax is a potentially fatal disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. It is well known for its role in the 2001 bioterrorist attacks, in which the lethal bacteria were spread deliberately through the U.S. mail. Twenty-two people became ill, and five died.
Bacillus anthracis is the bacterium that causes anthrax. It lives in soil. Bacillus anthracis is different than many other bacteria because it forms spores. In this form, the Bacillus anthracis can lie dormant, but may come to life under the right conditions. Once the Bacillus anthracis bacteria come to life, they can have deadly effects. Bacillus anthracis is an aerobic bacterium, meaning it requires oxygen to survive and grow.
Bacillus anthracis is the bacterium that causes anthrax. This organism is different from many other bacteria because it forms spores. In this form, it can lie dormant (asleep), but may come to life with the right conditions. Once the bacteria come to life, they can have deadly effects.
Bacillus anthracis is an aerobic (oxygen-requiring) bacterium that lives in soil and has developed a survival tactic that allows it to endure for decades under the harshest conditions. As mentioned, this form is called a spore. You can think of a spore as a protective cocoon with the active bacterium inside.
When Bacillus anthracis is in its spore phase, it can withstand extreme heat, cold, and drought and continue to survive without nutrients or air. When environmental conditions are favorable, the spores will germinate into thriving colonies of bacteria. For example, a grazing animal may ingest spores that begin to grow, spread, and eventually kill the animal. The bacteria will form spores in the carcass and then return to the soil to infect other animals in the future.
Most often, anthrax bacteria enter your body through a wound in your skin. You can also become infected by eating contaminated meat or inhaling the spores. Signs and symptoms, which depend on the way you're infected, can range from skin sores to nausea and vomiting or shock.
Prompt treatment with antibiotics can cure most anthrax infections contracted through the skin or contaminated meat. Inhaled anthrax is more difficult to treat and can be fatal.
Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic animals (sheep, cattle, goats, camels, antelopes, and other plant-eating animals), but it can also occur in humans. A person may develop the condition if he or she is exposed to infected animals, tissue from infected animals, or anthrax spores used as a bioterrorist weapon.
Symptoms of Anthrax
There are three types of anthrax, each with different signs and symptoms. In most cases, symptoms develop within seven days of exposure to the bacteria.
Gastrointestinal anthrax is one of the three main types of anthrax, a serious bacterial disease.
Gastrointestinal anthrax occurs naturally in warm and tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. There have been no confirmed cases in the United States, although a Minnesota farm family may have experienced symptoms in 2000 after eating meat from a steer that had anthrax.
The other major types of anthrax are:
People can acquire gastrointestinal anthrax from eating meat contaminated with Bacillus anthracis bacteria or their spores.
Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Anthrax
Anthrax is a serious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common of the three main types. About 95 percent of cases are the result of cutaneous anthrax.
Cutaneous anthrax infections occur when the bacterium Bacillus anthracis enters a cut or abrasion on the skin. This may happen when handling contaminated wool, hides, leather, or hair products (especially goat hair) of infected animals.
People who work with certain animals or animal carcasses are at risk of getting cutaneous anthrax. This disease is rare in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are only one to two reported cases per year in the United States.
Symptoms of Cutaneous Anthrax
Cutaneous anthrax responds well to antibiotics, but may spread throughout the body if untreated. About 20 percent of untreated cases will result in death. Deaths from this type of anthrax are rare with appropriate treatment.
Treatments of Anthrax
The standard treatment for anthrax is a 60-day course of an antibiotic, such as Ciprofloxacin(Cipro) or Doxycycline. Which single antibiotic or combination of antibiotics will be most effective for you depends on the type of anthrax you have, your age, overall health and other factors. Treatment is most effective when started as soon as possible.
Although some cases of anthrax respond to antibiotics, advanced inhalation anthrax may not. By the later stages of the disease, the bacteria have often produced more toxins than drugs can eliminate.
Prevention - Anthrax Vaccine
Health experts currently do not recommend the vaccine for general use by the public because anthrax illness is rare, and the vaccine has potential adverse side effects. Researchers have not determined the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.
The anthrax vaccine schedule consists of three subcutaneous (under the skin) injections, given two weeks apart, followed by three additional subcutaneous injections given at 6, 12, and 18 months. Annual booster injections of the anthrax vaccine are recommended thereafter.
Possible Side Effects of the Anthrax Vaccine
In 30 percent of people who receive the anthrax vaccine, a mild skin reaction where the shot was given occurs. This skin reaction consists of slight tenderness and redness at the injection site.
Severe local reactions are infrequent and consist of extensive swelling of the forearm, in addition to the local reaction.
Serious reactions that affect the entire body occur in less than 0.2 percent of people who receive the anthrax vaccine.
Anthrax in Animals
The deadly disease affects domestic animals, wild ruminants. Recent outbreaks of anthrax in the US have focused new attention on one of civilization's oldest and deadliest diseases. Anthrax remains a far greater threat to livestock than to people - while infected animals left untreated die within a few days, the most common form of anthrax in humans is a generally non-fatal skin infection that strikes workers handling infected animals or animal products. (That anthrax is largely an "occupational hazard" for humans is reflected in the common name given to its deadly pulmonary form: "woolsorter's disease", contracted through the inhalation of spores in fleece.) AG21 asked specialists in AG's Animal Health Service for a basic guide to anthrax in animals.
The Anthrax affects domestic animals - such as cattle, sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, pigs and dogs - as well as wild ruminants such as antelopes, gazelles and impalas. Even elephants and hippopotami are reported to have died from the disease in outbreaks in some parts of Africa. Wild carnivores such as lions, hyenas and jackals, are also susceptible. Birds, however, seem to be resistant to anthrax.
How is anthrax diagnosed in animals?
How does anthrax spread in animals?
How does anthrax manifest itself?
Measures for control anthrax in animals
Anthrax is an old disease of both animals and humans. It is not contagious - that is, it is not easily transmitted from person to person. However, one reason it causes concern is that the spore form of the bacterium can persist in the environment for a long period of time if conditions are favourable. Humans can develop localized skin lesions or cutaneous anthrax through the contact of broken skin with infected blood or tissues, or may acquire the highly fatal form from inhalation of spores. Humans can also acquire the intestinal form of anthrax by consuming poorly cooked contaminated meat.
Sources used - anthrax.emedtv.com, www.mayoclinic.com, www.fao.org