Anthrax: A Threatening Disease for All

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The pathogenic bacterium, Bacillus anthracis, is the causative agent of the debilitating disease Anthrax (6). This essay will discuss the threat that the disease poses on society, the prevention of anthrax on a large scale, and the current treatment options of those infected. B. anthracis is a gram-positive sporative bacterium that have been found on every continent including Antarctica and can survive in its spore state for decades (6). It is mostly found naturally in domestic lower vertebrates like cattle, sheep, goats, and camels, but it can also occur in humans who are exposed to infected animal tissue, contaminated food, or infected soil (1)(11). There are three routes of infection: cutaneous, inhaled, and ingested (11). Cutaneous infections are classified as over 95% of human infections worldwide (7). Humans can contract it by handling products from infected animals or eating undercooked meat (11). Inhaled spores are usually found on wool, hides, leather, or hair products (11). According to the CDC, it is rare to find infected animals in the United States (1). Certain areas of the world like South and Central America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East have the most anthrax cases worldwide (11). The zoonotic Anthrax bacterium is technically considered soil-borne although it’s usually only found in large concentrations in the soil near corpses of animals that die of the disease (2). Another way for humans to contract the disease is through weaponized bioterrorism (10). The WMD commission of the US Congress said that it’s “more likely than not” that a terrorist attack will occur during the year 2013 and that it is most likely that the threat will be biological rather than nucl... ... middle of paper ... .... Furthermore, side effects from this disruption are relatively minimal because when the ANTXR1 was disrupted, normal physiological processes (collagen binding and angiogenesis) were compensated through another molecular pathway (12) (14). The historical journey of anthrax has affected the lives of countless individuals since its discovery many years ago. Researchers have helped develop plans for defense and treatment of the natural anthrax disease for animals and humans and are continuing to try and temper the effects of the potentially devastating use of anthrax as a bioweapon against the USA (5) (9). Bacillus anthracis causes a demoralizing disease in all its forms but with continued research efforts of scientist across the world a solution will be found to quench the fire of the anthrax disease and the frightening threat this pathogens bioterrorism capability.

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