Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) is a bacterium that infects organisms through sporulation. Bacillus anthracis can be aerobic (needs oxygen) or, facultative anaerobic (does not require oxygen). It is also a gram positive bacterium that can be found in the soil of humid and damp climates (Hicks, 2012). The bacterium is part of the species Bacillus Cereus (Koehler, 2009). It is known to infect life forms four different ways. Infection can be caused through digestion, eating food that is contaminated with the bacteria. Another way is through inhaling; which occurs through breathing in the spores. The third way of becoming infected is through the skin, known as cutaneous; this infection occurs through open wounds. The newest form discovered of infection is through injection; the use of needles (Hicks, 2012). Though, it is not common to be found in wealthy countries; there have been numerous outbreaks in Europe and the United States. It is also being considered for bioterrorism (Sweeney, 2011). Symptoms of the early stages of anthrax can be misunderstood for less lethal conditions (Hicks, 2012). For patients with a possible anthrax infection can be determined by gram positive staining. It can also be diagnosed by confirmatory testing, such as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) (Sweeney, 2011). PCR focuses on certain DNA strands for replication and identifying what the organism is (Genetic, 2014). Anthrax toxin antagonists can be considered for healing; but antibiotic therapy is the most common use of treatment (Sweeney, 2011).
Bacillus anthracis is a non-motile elongated rod-shaped bacterium that will generate dormant spores with or without oxygen. When the spores are exposed to high levels of carbon dioxide and warmth they adjust into a rod-shaped vegetative form. This form can replicate itself and will produce virulence factors that cause disease. If that vegetative form is exposed to oxygen and cooler and temperatures it can then sporulate again (Hicks, 2012).
If the bacteria have a lack of nourishment in their vegetative state they can transform back into a dormant spore structure. Scientists have not yet achieved full understanding of the nutritional needs due to the many strands of Bacillus anthracis. They have come to a conclusion that methionine and thiamine is required for growth. The bacterium can grow in a temperature no less than 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and cannot grow above 43 degrees Celsius (109.4 degrees Fahrenheit) (Koehler, 2009).
Active Bacillus anthracis has three primary factors; it has a capsule, it can achieve high microbial concentrations in infected hosts, and produces a lethal exotoxin and edema exotoxin. Lethal exotoxin and edema exotoxin are also known as lethal factors and edema factors(Hicks, 2012). The capsule serves as an immune cell evasion mechanism for the vegetative anthrax form. Compared to other bacteria capsules bacillus anthracis does not inhibit phagocytosis (Tonello, 2012). Monocytes cause...