B Acillus Anthracis: Anthrax Essay

684 words - 3 pages

Bacillus Anthracis is a bacterium in the genus Bacillus that causes anthrax, which primarily affects livestock but occasionally spreads to humans through skin, lungs, or intestine. It is a rod shaped bacterium that grows in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. The bacterium is sometimes used as a biological weapon. Other names include Bacteridium Anthracis and Bacillus cereus var. Anthracis.
The spores created by the bacteria can survive for years while dormant and infest animal products such as hides, wool, hair or bones. The disease is fatal to cattle. Also, it is found in numerous types of soil all over the world and usually don’t pose a threat to human beings because the spores stay in the ground. In order to infect a human, the spores have to be released from the soil and must enter the body. They can enter the body through a cut in the skin, through consuming contaminated meat, or through inhaling the spores. Once the spores are in the body, and if antibiotics are not ...view middle of the document...

Activated spores release toxins that attack the body, causing the person to become sick. That’s why people who have been exposed to anthrax must take antibiotics for 60 days. This will protect them from any anthrax spores in their body when the spores are activated. Also, the US military started a program called The National Pharmaceutical Stockpile. This program allowed the US government to stock pile enough vaccines and antibiotics for 2 million people, and can be distributed within 12 hours of the confirmation of an outbreak
Anthrax is somewhat rare in the US because of many animal vaccinations used to disinfect hides or other animal products. Another prevention method is the burning the carcass of the infected animal to kill the bacterium. During the 2001 attacks with contaminated envelops, the USPS recommended citizens to check the address on the mail and look for unusual changes compared to normal mail. For people in a higher risk job, an anthrax vaccine is available. To kill the bacteria, radiation is used to kill it off of contaminated items. This same method is used for sterilizing bandages, and medical devices.
The largest outbreak was in 1979, when anthrax was accidently released from a Russian military research and development lab, which caused a regional epidemic that killed 69 people. The bacteria can also be used as a weapon. There is a great deal of concern for this because anthrax can be contracted by inhalation, which is the deadliest form of the disease. The bacteria can be grown in laboratories and with the right procedures; it can be specialized as a weapon. This is what happened in 2001, when terrorists found a way to turn the spores into a powder with which they contaminated mail and sent it to select targets. Because of this calamity, 143 countries signed a treaty that forbade the use of weapons loaded with anthrax.
Fun facts about the Anthrax includes the following. The word Anthrax came from the Greek term anthrax\kos meaning coal. Many nations have signed treaties saying they will never again use weapons infested with Anthrax spores. Louis Pastuer invented the Anthrax vaccine in 1881, but it didn’t become FDA approved until 1970.Animals are one of the most common ways to get anthrax, but you can also get it from soil where and anthrax infected animal laid, went to the bathroom, or even walked on.

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