Anthrax Report

1597 words - 6 pages

Anthrax is a living organism in the genus Bacillus and its species name is anthracis. This specific bacterium is gram-positive which means that it has a thick, protective peptidoglycan coating. It is also rod-shaped and only a few micrometers in length. It is also one of the few bacteria to synthesize a protein capsule. Like other species in the genus Bacillus, it can form and release endospores, commonly known as spores. These spores are able to survive in extremely harsh conditions and can survive for years and even decades dormant in the soil. It is a very acute disease which means that it has rapid onset and a short course. Anthrax usually infects animals such as cattle, but occasionally can infect humans and in most cases without treatment is lethal. The deadly component of anthrax is its three-protein exotoxin which is secreted by virulent strains of the bacteria. This toxin was discovered in 1954 by Harry Smith, an anthropologist. Each of the three toxins individually are nontoxic. Only when combined are they lethal. The toxins are composed of cell-binding proteins known as a protective antigen and two enzyme components. One is called edema factor and one is called lethal factor.
There are many types of anthrax symptoms because it depends on how the Bacterium anthracis got into the body. These symptoms can take any where from a few days to 2 months to appear after the infection has taken place. Symptoms of cutaneous anthrax include small blisters or bumps that may itch and a painless sore (aka. ulcer) that would contain a black center and would be located on the face, neck, arms, or hands. Swelling may occur around the ulcer. If the anthrax spores are inhaled, symptoms include fever/chills, chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion, dizziness, coughing, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, headache, sweating, tiredness, and overall body aches. Symptoms of gastrointestinal anthrax include fever/chills, swelling of the neck or neck glands, sore throat, hard to swallow (painful swallowing), hoarseness, nausea, vomiting (occasionally with blood), diarrhea (occasionally bloody), headache, redness of the face and eyes, stomach pain, fainting, and swelling of the stomach. Finally, symptoms of injecting anthrax into your system include fever/chills, a group of blisters or bumps that may itch where the anthrax was injected, a painless skin sore (ulcer), swelling around the sore, and abscesses under the skin or in muscle where the anthrax was injected.
In order for someone to get infected with anthrax, the spores must find a way to get inside the body where they will become the anthrax bacteria. There are many ways for the spores to get inside the body. Some ways include working with infected animals or animal products, eating raw or undercooked meat from an infected animal, or by injecting heroin into the body. People working with an infected animal or animal products may get inhalation or cutaneous anthrax by being exposed to the wool, hair, hides,...

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