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Anthrax (cont.)

What is the prognisis for anthrax?

  • Prognosis: If treated early, people with cutaneous anthrax recover. Those with oropharyngeal or intestinal anthrax have a less favorable outcome, and people with inhalational anthrax have the worst outcomes. About one-half of the victims of the fall 2001 anthrax attacks died.
  • Follow-up: With cutaneous anthrax, 80% of people who are not treated will recover. If treated, they may be given medication and sent home. A permanent circular scar may remain at the site of the original lesion. For others, with inhalational, meningeal, or septicemic anthrax, hospitalization is required.

How can you prevent anthrax?

Patient Comments

An anthrax vaccine exists but is not readily available to the public. It is administered to people who may be expected to come in contact with anthrax, such as laboratory workers and certain military personnel. It consists of a series of five immunizations given over 18 months. A booster is then available to be given annually, especially to those who have exposure to anthrax-containing animals or animal products. A skin test can determine if the vaccine is active.

To prevent infection from spores of B. anthracis released in the air after a suspected bioterrorist attack, your doctor may prescribe ciprofloxacin or doxycycline for 60 days. The vaccine can also be administered at the time of suspected exposure as a further preventive measure. Other antibiotics may be used once lab tests return showing which ones are effective.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCE:

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Anthrax." Mar. 21, 2011. <http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/>.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/5/2016

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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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