Major Types of Anthrax
Anthrax is a potentially fatal disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The three major types of anthrax are:
- Cutaneous (skin) anthrax
- Inhalation anthrax (also known as pulmonary anthrax)
- Gastrointestinal anthrax.
What sets each type apart? For starters, the most common type is cutaneous anthrax, which occurs when the bacteria enter a cut or abrasion on the skin. Cutaneous anthrax accounts for about 95 percent of all anthrax infections. When appropriate treatment is given, deaths from this type are rare.
Gastrointestinal anthrax occurs as a result of eating meat contaminated with Bacillus anthracis bacteria. Inhalation anthrax is often fatal. It is usually transmitted by breathing in anthrax bacteria or spores from infected animal products, but it can also occur if anthrax was used as a biological weapon.
(Click Types of Anthrax for more information on the major forms of this disease.)