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Anthrax (cont.)

Anthrax Diagnosis

  • The skin lesions will eventually turn black. If you have a painless ulcer (sore) that is suspected to be cutaneous anthrax, the doctor will take a small sample of the fluid and see if it grows under special conditions in the laboratory. Samples will be viewed under a microscope. The anthrax bacteria will look different than other, similar organisms. If anthrax is suspected, laboratory personnel will take special care with the sample because it is considered a biohazard. Anthrax is not contagious from person to person, however, standard hospital practices of hygiene, known as universal precautions, will prevent spread from the sample to other people.
  • If you have cutaneous anthrax and have developed a fever and other symptoms throughout your body, the doctor may test your blood for the bacteria.
  • If the doctor thinks you may have inhalational anthrax, you will have a chest X-ray or a CT scan. Other tests may be performed, including a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). You will also be admitted to the hospital.
  • An infectious-disease specialist may be among the doctors consulted to assist with management.

When to Seek Medical Care for Anthrax

Anthrax develops rapidly, so immediate medical attention is required. Go to a hospital's emergency department if you have been or think you have been exposed to spores.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2015
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Anthrax »

Anthrax was described in the early literature of the Greeks, Romans, and Hindus.

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