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Anthrax and ts prevention

Anthrax and ts prevention

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Published by Zahid Qamar

anthrax and its role .

anthrax and its role .

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Published by: Zahid Qamar on Dec 10, 2012
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Definition Problem statement History Epidemiology Pathogenesis of anthrax Types/Forms of anthrax Symptoms Of Anthrax Diagnosis Of Anthrax Treatment Prevention and control of anthrax Weaponizing anthrax


Anthrax is an acute bacterial infection of animals transmissible to man. It is also known as Malignant Pustule, Malignant Edema, Woolsorters’ Disease, Ragpickers’ Disease, Maladi Charbon, Splenic Fever

Problem statement

True incidence not known
World 20,000-100,000 in 1958  U.S. 235 total reported cases 1955-1994

18 cases inhalational since 1900, last one 1976  Until 2001, last previous case cutaneous 1992


Inhalational 86-100% (despite treatment)

Era of crude intensive supportive care

Cutaneous <5% (treated) – 20% (untreated)  GI approaches 100%

Milestones in Anthrax History

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Early history 1800s 1900s Recent years Outbreaks in Thailand and US

History of Anthrax (Early history)

Although anthrax dates back more than 3,000 years, it was not recognized as a disease until the 18th century. 1500 B.C - A “plague of boils” in Egypt affected the Pharaoh‟s cattle. „Boils‟ are symptomatic of anthrax. 1600s - The “Black Bane” thought to be anthrax, in Europe kills over 60,000 cattle. 1700s - There are some accounts of human cases.

History (1800s)

Early 1800s - The first human cases of cutaneous anthrax in the US and UK were reported in men who contracted the disease after having been in contact with infected livestock. The disease was called Wool Sorter‟s disease or Rag Picker‟s disease because it affected workers in those trades. 1868 - Anthrax was observed under a microscope. 1876 - German bacteriologist Robert Koch confirmed bacterial origin of anthrax.

History (1800s)

Early 1800s - The first human cases of cutaneous anthrax in the US and UK were reported in men who contracted the disease after having been in contact with infected livestock. The disease was called Wool Sorter‟s disease or Rag Picker‟s disease because it affected workers in those trades. 1868 - Anthrax was observed under a microscope. 1876 - German bacteriologist Robert Koch confirmed bacterial origin of anthrax.

History (Late 1900s)

1950s and 60s - U.S. biological warfare program continues after WWII at Fort Detrick, Maryland

1969 - President Nixon ended United States' offensive biological weapons program, but defensive work still continues.
1970 - Anthrax vaccine for humans was approved by U.S. FDA. 1978-80 - The world's largest outbreak of human anthrax via insect vectors or contaminated meat struck Zimbabwe, Africa where more than 10,000 cases were recorded and over 180 people died. 1979 - In Soviet Union, aerosolized anthrax spores were released accidentally at a military facility, affecting 94 and killing 64 people.

History (Recent years)

1991 - About 150,000 U.S. troops were vaccinated for anthrax in preparation for Gulf War. 1990-93 - The cult group, Aum Shinrikyo, released anthrax spores in Tokyo, fortunately no one was injured. On February 27, 2004, the leader of this group was given a sentence of death at a district court in Tokyo. 1995 - Iraq produced 8,500 liters of concentrated anthrax as part of the biological weapon program under Saddam Hussein‟s administration. 2001 - Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to many places in the US such as NBC, New York Times, and Media in Miami. In Florida, a man died after inhaling anthrax at the office.


Epidemological triangle Agent factors Host factors Envoirnmental & social factors

Agent factors


Bacillus anthracis.

Reservoir of infection

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Infected cattle Sheep Goats horses

Source of infection

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Tissue Skin Hides Hairs Whool of animals dying of anthrax



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All ages and genders affected Occurs worldwide Endemic areas - Africa, Asia



Time from exposure to symptoms  Very variable for inhalational

2-43 days reported  Theoretically may be up to 100 days  Delayed germination of spores

No human-to-human  Naturally occurring cases

Skin exposure  Ingestion  Airborne

Aerosol (likely)  Small volume powder (possible)  Foodborne (unlikely)


 Handling

hides/skins of infected

animals  Microbiology laboratory  Intentional aerosol release  Small volume powdered form  In letters, packages, etc  Questionable risk, probably small

 Handling

hides/skins of infected

animals  Bites from arthropods (very rare)  Handling powdered form in letters, etc.  Intentional aerosol release  May see some cutaneous if large-scale

 Ingestion

of meat from infected animal  Ingestion of intentionally contaminated food  Not likely in large scale  Spores not as viable in large volumes of water  Ingestion from powder-contaminated hands  Inhalational of spores on particles >5 m  Land in oropharynx

Mechanism of Infection
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Anthrax spores enter body Germinate & multiple in lymph nodes PA, EF, LF excreted from bacteria PA binds to TEM8. PA nicked by protease furin  20-kDa segment off leaving 63-kDa peptide  Heptamer forms EF and/or LF binds Complex internalized by endocytosis Acidification of endosome LF or EF crosses into cytosol via PA mediated ion-conductive channels LF cleaves MAPKK 1 & 2 EF stimulates cAMP




Inhalation Anthrax

Disease immediately follows germination. Spores replicate in the lymph nodes.

The two lungs are separated by a structure called the mediastinum, which contains the heart, trachea, esophagus, and blood vessels. Bacterial toxins released during replication result in mediastinal widening and pleural effusions (accumulation of fluid in the pleural space).

Cutaneous Anthrax

95% of anthrax infections occur when the bacterium enters a cut or scratch on the skin due to handling of contaminated animal products or infected animals.

May also be spread by biting insects that have fed on infected hosts. After the spore germinates in skin tissues, toxin production initially results in itchy bump that develops into a vesicle and then painless black ulcer.

Gastrointestinal Anthrax

GI anthrax may follow after the consumption of contaminated, poorly cooked meat. There are 2 different forms of GI anthrax: 1) Oral-pharyngeal 2) Abdominal Abdominal anthrax is more common than the oral-pharyngeal form.


There are two phases of symptom. 1) Early phase - Many symptoms can occur within 7 days of infection 2) 2nd phase - Will hit hard, and usually occurs within 2 or 3 days after the early phase.

- Early Phase Symptoms      

Fever (temperature > 100 degrees F) Chills or night sweats Headache, cough, chest discomfort, sore throat

Joint stiffness, joint pain, muscle aches
Shortness of breath Enlarged lymph nodes, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal distress, vomiting, diarrhea Meningitis

- 2nd Phase Symptoms 

Breathing problems, pneumonia Shock Swollen lymph glands Profuse sweating

Cyanosis (skin turns blue)

Diagnosis Of Anthrax
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Gram stain Culture of B. anthracis from the blood, skin lesions, vesicular fluid, or respiratory secretions X-ray and Computed Tomography (CT) scan Rapid detection methods - PCR for detection of nucleic acid - ELISA assay for antigen detection - Other immunohistochemical and immunoflourescence examinations - These are available only at certain labs

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Empiric Therapy

Ciprofloxacin 10-15 mg/kg/d IV q12°, max 1 g/d OR Doxycycline 2.2 mg/kg IV q12° (adult dosage if >8 yo and >45 kg)  Add one or two antibiotics for inhalational  Weigh risks (arthropathy, dental enamel)

Pregnant women
Same as other adults  Weigh small risks (fetal arthropathy) vs benefit


same as other adults

Alternative antibiotics

If susceptible, or cipro/doxy not possible
Penicillin*, amoxicillin *FDA Approved  Gentamicin, streptomycin  Erythromycin, chloramphenicol

Ineffective antibiotics
Trimethoprim/Sulfamethoxazole  Third generation cephalosporins

Susceptibility testing should be done
Narrow antibiotic if possible  Must be cautious

Multiple strains with engineered resistance to different antibiotics may be coinfecting  Watch for clinical response after switching antibiotic

Antibiotic therapy


60 days
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Risk of delayed spore germination Vaccine availability  Could reduce to 30-45 days therapy  Stop antibiotics after 3rd vaccine dose

Switch to oral
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Clinical improvement Patient able to tolerate oral medications

Other therapies

Passive immunization
Anthrax immunoglobulin from horse serum  Risk of serum sickness


Mutated Protective Antigen

Blocks cell entry of toxin Still immunogenic, could be an alternative vaccine Animal models promising

Postexposure Prophylaxis

Who should receive PEP?
Anyone exposed to anthrax  Not for contacts of cases, unless also exposed

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Empiric antibiotic therapy Vaccination

Postexposure Prophylaxis

Avoid unnecessary antibiotic usage
Potential shortages of those who need them  Potential adverse effects

Hypersensitivity  Neurological side effects, especially elderly  Bone/cartilage disease in children  Oral contraceptive failure

Future antibiotic resistance
Individual’s own flora  Community resistance patterns

Postexposure Prophylaxis

Antibiotic therapy
Treat ASAP  Prompt therapy can improve survival  Continue for 60 days

30-45 days if vaccine administered

Postexposure Prophylaxis

Antibiotic therapy

Same regimen as active treatment
Substituting oral equivalent for IV  Ciprofloxacin 500 mg po bid empirically  Alternatives

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Doxycycline 100 mg po bid Amoxicillin 500 mg po tid

Postexposure Prophylaxis

Antibiotic therapy

Same dose adjustments as treatment  Weigh benefits vs. risks  Recommended switch if PCNsusceptible

Amoxicillin 80 mg/kg/day, max 500 mg tid

Methods of control & Prevention

1.Preventive measures

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Isolation & treatment of infected animals. Carcases of animals dying of anthrax should be burnt or burried 6 feet deep with lime. A dead or living animal suffring from anthrax should not be bled or opened,for the bacilli do not produce spores except in the presence of oxygen. Vaccination of animals with an alum precipitated protective antigen Control of effluents & trade wastes of factories that handle wool,hides,hairs of animals,these effluents should be properly treated before discharge into streams.


Health education of industrial workers handling potentially contaminated material ,they should wear gloves. Prompt medical care of all skin lesions of workers dealing with animal tissues and hides. Dust control and proper ventillation to carry off the dust where wool and hair are handled. If there is an out break in in a dairy herd,quarantine the herd for a10 days after the appearance of last case.during this period there milk should not be used. Immunization.


Disinfection;anthrax spores are very resistant.steam disinfection is practicable for hair;wool may be disinfected by formaldehyde & hides by binchloride of mercury,formic acid or hcl Hair used for shaving brushes should be disinfected by boiling for 3 hrs,by exposure to saturated steam for 30 min or by dry heat at 200T for 24 hrs.

Duckering process

Most reliable method for disinfection of wool;it is done in 4 stages. 1.the wool is soaked insoap water solution containing some alkali at 102f and thoroughly mixed with rakes.this process cleans the wooland renders the spores of anthrax susceptible to disinfection. The material is thoroughly mixed with 21/2% formalin solution for 30 min.formalin destroys the spores. At this stage the wool or the material to be treated is dried in current of air at 106f.this drying further destroys the spores if any. The wool is then cooled by a current of air,where it is kept for several days to ensure complete destruction of spores

Control ofof infected persons,contacts,&envoirnment

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Notify to local health authority. Isolate till the lesions are healed. Concurrent disinfection,steam sterilization of burning of all contaminated articles. Terminal disinfection. Quarantine;none. Immunization. Investigation of contacts and source of infection hx of exposure to infected animals. Treatment;penciline/tetracyclines.

Epidemic measures

Trace source of infection and remove it. In animals;vaccination,treatment,is olation,sterilization of animal products.

International measures

Sterilization of imported animal feed,of hair used for shaving brushes,animal hairs,hides and wool before being handled by workers


Cell-free filtrate Licensed in 1970 At risk
Wool mill workers  Veterinarians  Lab workers  Livestock handlers  Military personnel

Vaccine Side Effects

Injection site reactions
Mild: 30% men, 60% women  Moderate:1-5%  Large local:1%

5-35% experience systemic effects

Muscle or joint aches, headache, rash, chills, fever, nausea, loss of appetite, malaise

No long-term side effects noted

Vaccine Schedule

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3 injections at two-week intervals 3 injections 6 months apart Annual booster

Weaponizing Anthrax: How is it made?

What Type of Anthrax to Use?

Inhalational (lungs)
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Incredibly Lethal (untreated death rate >90%) Facile attack methods (silent, flu-like, spray dispersible, e Not near as lethal (untreated death rate ~20%) More difficult to administer (need cut or abrasion) Somewhat lethal (untreated death rate ~25-60%) More difficult to administer (one has to consume anthrax)

Cutaneous (skin)
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Gastrointestinal (intestines)
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Best Type of Anthrax for Use as Weapon: INHALATIONAL


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