• Anthrax is a very dangerous disease caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis.
  • Anthrax is rare in the United States and is more commonly found in agricultural regions in Central and South America, Asia, southern Europe, and the Caribbean.
  • Outbreaks can occur in the U.S in both wild and domestic animals. These animals include deer and livestock.
  • Anthrax can naturally be found in soil, consequently infecting grazing animals both wild and domestic. 
  • Animals become infected when they inhale or consume the bacteria in contaminated soil, plants, water, etc.
  • It is rare for humans to get infected but can become contaminated by the bacteria entering the body through consumption, breathing, and open wounds and cuts. 
  • Causes can also come from ingesting raw meat from infected animals. This is more common in areas that do not routinely vaccinate the livestock.

Symptoms can vary depending on what type of infection is present and can take up to a few months to appear. Signs tend to form on the face, neck, and arms, and can include:

  • Groups of small blisters
  • Skin sores (ulcers)
  • Swelling of the sore

Those who breathe in the bacteria can experience:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Aches
  • Sweats
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Vaccines are available for animals with the disease and routine vaccinations are important where the outbreak has already occurred.
  • Anthrax is not contagious. Infection only occurs when the bacteria spores enter your body. 
  • Those who have already been exposed to or have had Anthrax can benefit from antibiotics.
  • If you work with animals in any setting, take extra precautions.
  • Do not consume raw meat from animals that were injected or could have been infected with Anthrax.
  • This is important when traveling to other countries where Anthrax is more common and animals are not properly vaccinated.
  • Farmers, ranchers, slaughterhouse employees, and veterinarians have an increase risk of infection because of their exposure to animals. 
Other Facts
  • It has been known that infection can occur in people who play drums and instruments made with animal hide and fur.
  • Hides and furs that are imported are a potential risk.
  • To be safe, only use hides and furs from animals from the U.S that are more likely to be healthy.