Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores), but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from infected animals.
Anthrax is most common in agricultural regions where it occurs in animals. These include South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. When anthrax affects humans, it is usually due to an occupational exposure to infected animals or their products. Workers who are exposed to dead animals and animal products from other countries where anthrax is more common may become infected with B. anthracis (industrial anthrax). Anthrax outbreaks occur in the United States on an annual basis in livestock and wild game animals such as deer.
Anthrax infection can occur in three forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. B. anthracis spores can live in the soil for many years, and humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals or by inhaling anthrax spores from contaminated animal products. Anthrax can also be spread by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. It is rare to find infected animals in the United States.
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Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced that CVD has been awarded a contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with total funding up to more than $200 million over seven years if all contract options are exercised.
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A team led by Professor Arne Skerra at the Technical University of Munich has developed an innovative strategy for preventing the anthrax bacterium from absorbing iron, which is crucial for its survival.
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Two recent studies led by biologists at the University of California San Diego have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning
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