Certain bacteria and its spores cause anthrax. The spores can survive for decades in the environment. Bacteria and spores are in soil and livestock such as cattle and goats. It’s rare, but people can get anthrax from:
Infected livestock and their products
Spores in the environment
Your chances of anthrax are higher if you:
Work with infected livestock
Work with the bacteria
Are exposed to criminal or terrorist acts
Symptoms start within a few days after infection. They vary based on how anthrax entered the body.
Inhalation anthrax symptoms come in stages over many days. It may start with feelings of a cold or the flu:
Anthrax. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/anthrax. Updated January 31, 2017. Accessed May 15, 2018.
Anthrax. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/gram-positive-bacilli/anthrax. Updated September 2017. Accessed May 15, 2018.
Wright JG, Quinn CP, Shadomy S, Messonnier N, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States: recommendations of the advisory committee on immunization practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59(RR-6):1-30.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.