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.
In a discovery that points to potential new antibiotic medicines, scientists from Rice University and the University of Michigan have deciphered the workings of a common but little-understood bacterial switch that cuts off protein production before it begins.
Bacteria, transformed into dormant spores, can survive millions of years in extreme environments, threatening human life in the form of food poisoning and the biological weapon anthrax. But understanding how bacteria adapt to hostile environments has largely remained a mystery--until now.
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
During World War II, the Soviet Red Army was forced to move their biological warfare operations out of the path of advancing Nazi troops. Among the dangerous cargo were vials of Francisella tularensis, the organism that causes tularemia and one of the world's most infectious pathogens.
The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought, according to new research by the University of Liverpool.
They undertook a modelling study based on six states in the US in areas that are at risk of Zika emergence. The main finding of this study was that the total cost of Zika in these sates had a range that went from approximately 183.4 million dollars to 1.2 billion dollars.
Botulinum neurotoxin is probably best known to Americans as BOTOX, a cosmetic medicine, rather than as a cause of potentially dangerous foodborne illnesses.
Monoclonal antibody-based therapies have revolutionized treatments of cancer and autoimmune diseases because of their specificity and limited toxicity.
Research teams from the National Institutes of Health and abroad have identified the first inhibitor of an enzyme long thought to be a potential drug target for fighting disease-causing parasites and bacteria.
Case Western Reserve University and Q2 Pharma Ltd., an Israeli biopharmaceutical company, have signed a two-year option to license small molecule, antivirulence technology to potentially treat bacterial infections such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the first known scientific effort of its kind.
The virulent pathogen that causes the disease tularemia, or "rabbit fever," was weaponized during past world wars and is considered a potential bioweapon.
A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute and Northern Arizona University used deep DNA sequencing methods to generate the anthrax genome sequence from the victims of the 1979 anthrax outbreak in Sverdlovsk, Russia, when it was part of the USSR.
In work that aims to protect soldiers from biological and chemical threats, a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists has created a material that is highly breathable yet protective from biological agents.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved safety labeling changes for a class of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, to enhance warnings about their association with disabling and potentially permanent side effects and to limit their use in patients with less serious bacterial infections.
A biopharmaceutical company collaborating with Hawai'i scientists on an Ebola vaccine announced encouraging news about its vaccine today.
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute all parts of the National Institutes of Health, describe how combining engineered anthrax toxin proteins and existing chemotherapy drugs could potentially yield a therapy to reduce or eliminate cancerous tumors.
Vaccination with the anthrax capsule--a naturally occurring component of the bacterium that causes the disease--completely protected monkeys from lethal anthrax infection, according to a study published online this week in the journal VACCINE.
Doctors have a powerful arsenal of cancer-fighting chemotherapy drugs to choose from, though a key challenge is to better target these drugs to kill tumors while limiting their potentially harmful side effects.
If an infectious disease outbreak or an attack using an agent such as anthrax were to occur in Chicago, it most likely first will be noticed in emergency rooms throughout the city. Swift identification of the cause of an incoming patients' illness could be crucial to public health and safety personnel being able to intervene in time to save lives.
On Friday, March 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Anthim (obiltoxaximab) injection to treat inhalational anthrax in combination with appropriate antibacterial drugs. Anthim is also approved to prevent inhalational anthrax when alternative therapies are not available or not appropriate.