Anthrax Home > Types of Anthrax

There are three major anthrax types: cutaneous, inhalation, and gastrointestinal. Of the three different types, the most common is cutaneous anthrax, which occurs when the bacteria enter a cut or abrasion on the skin. The gastrointestinal form occurs as a result of eating meat contaminated with Bacillus anthracis bacteria. Inhalation anthrax, transmitted by breathing in anthrax bacteria or spores, is usually fatal.

What Are the Types of Anthrax?

Anthrax is a serious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The three major types of anthrax are:
 

Cutaneous Anthrax

About 95 percent of anthrax infections are cutaneous anthrax. Transmission occurs when Bacillus anthracis enters a cut or abrasion on the skin, which can happen when handling contaminated wool, hides, leather, or hair products (especially goat hair) of infected animals.
 
A cutaneous anthrax skin infection begins as a raised, itchy bump that resembles an insect bite, but within one to two days develops into a blister. This blister then turns into a painless ulcer with a characteristic black necrotic (dying) area in the center (see Anthrax Pictures). Lymph glands in the adjacent area may swell, too.
 
About 20 percent of untreated cases of cutaneous anthrax will result in death. Deaths from this anthrax type are rare when appropriate treatment is received.
 

Inhalation Anthrax

Inhalation anthrax is caused by breathing in the anthrax bacteria or spores. Most of the time, this occurs by breathing in spores from infected animal products. It can also occur if anthrax was used as a biological weapon.
 
Initial anthrax symptoms may resemble a common cold. After several days, the symptoms may worsen to severe breathing problems and shock. This type of anthrax is usually fatal.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation
Advertisement


Topics & Medications

Quicklinks

Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2017 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.