Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by specific bacteria. It can occur in humans when they have been exposed to contaminated animals or tissue from these animals.
Different types of anthrax infections can occur. These include:
Anthrax is treated with antibiotics. All forms of anthrax can be fatal, especially if not treated.
The anthrax vaccine protects against anthrax. It does not contain cells that cause anthrax.
The following people aged 18 to 65 years should get vaccinated. Those who:
These people should get 5 doses of the vaccine in the muscle. The first dose should be given when there is risk of exposure. The other 4 doses should be given at 4 weeks and 6, 12, and 18 months after the first dose.
Risks associated with the anthrax vaccine include:
Those who should not get vaccinated include:
You can prevent anthrax if you:
It is not believed that anthrax can be spread from person to person. If an outbreak occurred and a large number of people were exposed to the bacteria, the US would give antibiotics and vaccines to everyone who was exposed.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
Anthrax. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 30, 2015. Accessed June 10, 2015.
Anthrax. Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/BioterrorismandDrugPreparedness/ucm063485.htm. Updated February 11, 2014. Accessed June 10, 2015.
Anthrax basics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/basics. Updated August 29, 2013. Accessed June 8, 2015.
Anthrax vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/anthrax.pdf. Updated March 10, 2010. Accessed June 10, 2015.
Last reviewed June 2015 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 6/20/2014