Anthrax symptoms are a common infectious disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. It was Robert Koch who established connection between this bacteria and the anthrax disease. The anthrax bacteria are known to survive for years in dormant forms known as spores.
The spores of this bacteria spread by different mediums like inhalation, open cut or abrasion. Different types of anthrax affect different parts of the body and the anthrax symptoms also vary accordingly. For instance, oropharangeal anthrax is associated with abnormalities of throat and mouth.
However, a particular form of anthrax may give rise to another type if left untreated. The most common cause behind the spread of the disease is through skin. Other possible reasons are inhaling the spores or consuming meat containing the spores.
Irrespective to the cause of anthrax, it is extremely important to recognize the anthrax attacks in time. This post provides detailed information regardin the signs and symptoms of different types of anthrax.
The symptoms of this disease appear in a week after the infection with the spores. However, the symptoms of inhalational anthrax may take up to 6 weeks to appear after the infection with the bacteria. The symptoms of the anthrax depend on the type of disease. Various types of anthrax and their symptoms are as follows:
The cutaneous anthrax is characterized by infection in arms, head and neck. If the disease is not treated with proper medications, it can spread to other parts of the body as well. The cutaneous anthrax symptoms start just a few days after the patient is infected with the bacteria. In the beginning, small lesions are observed on the infected parts.
Gradually, these lesions enlarge with time and get converted into a pustule. A characteristic feature of the pustule is that it does not produce any pain. Instead the area around the pustule may get full with blisters full of a typical fluid. In some portions, the sores can also cause swelling which results in further problems.
For instance, the appearance of lesions in the neck portion can cause swelling which results in difficult breathing. The cause of cutaneous anthrax is the spores entering through a cut in the body. A common reason behind this is handling of animal products by a person.
This form of anthrax is not that dangerous as the infection is limited to skin mainly. However, if left untreated, it can cause complications and even death in extreme cases. Thus the skin anthrax symptoms should be recognized in early stage and then reported to a doctor.
In comparison to other forms of anthrax, this form may take larger time interval for the symptoms to appear. The time interval between bacterial infection and onset of symptoms can be anywhere between 7-42 days. The potential of the spores to cause inhalational anthrax depends mainly on the size of the spores.
If the spores are very small in size, they might not succeed in causing the disease. Again, even the large sized spores fall down and are not inhaled. Thus the spores belonging to a particular range of size are dangerous. In the beginning the respiratory system problems are not observed.
There might be fever and cough. Gradually, the respiratory problems like difficulty in breathing, runny nose and chest pain appear. Another characteristic feature of this type of anthrax is enhanced sweating in the person. It is estimated that inhalation of about 10000 spores or more can be fatal for a person.
However, this quantity varies from one individual to another and depends on a number of factors. This type of anthrax is also known as Woolsorters anthrax as the people in this profession have higher chances of getting infected because of greater exposure to infected animals. In fact, people working in all the professions that make use of animal part or skin have higher chances of getting infected.
Intestinal anthrax is caused when the person swallows the spores. The symptoms start appearing in less than a week and it must be treated as soon as possible. The symptoms of this form of anthrax are vomiting, nausea, high fever and mental exhaustion.
This refers to the appearance of symptoms in mouth and throat of the affected person. It is also caused by swallowing of the spores and it generally results in sore throat. In extreme cases, the sore throat may cause difficult breathing in the patient.
It is also known as septicemic anthrax and is characterized by the production of harmful toxins in the body that can cause death. This type of anthrax generally occurs when the inhalational anthrax is not treated in time.
This type of anthrax is characterized by the appearance of symptoms in brain of the infected person.
Anthrax symptoms prevention
A number of vaccines are available for preventing the occurrence of Anthrax. These vaccines consist of stern strains of bacteria bacillus anthraces but are known by different names in different countries.
If it is found that a person has died due to anthrax, strict measures should be taken to ensure that other people do not get contaminated by the body fluids. For this purpose, the body of the person should be isolated and full protection should be provided against wounded surfaces or exposed parts.
Various bio- detection systems are also used by the government authorities to detect the disease in early stage. In order to prevent the spread of the disease the belongings of the infected person needs to be treated with anti-microbial solutions. Another option is to put the clothes in boiling water for half an hour.
Anthrax symptoms Treatment
In order to treat the different types of anthrax, a range of antibiotics are available. These include drugs like ciprofloxacin, penicillin and doxycycline. Anthrax symptoms diagnosis should be performed in the early stages as the disease is easier to control.
On the other hand, if a particular type of anthrax is not treated in initial stages, it can lead to shock and death. This is because the anthrax symptoms may lead to other health complications as well.