Contact with airborne spores: Within 1 - 6 days after inhaling the anthrax spores victim develops fever, fatigue and a cough. Symptoms would improve for anywhere from a few hours to 2-3 days. After that, there would be a sudden onset of difficulty in breathing, profuse sweating, shock and death in 24-36 hours.
Skin contact: 1 - 6 days swelling and skin boils develop.
Anthrax is normally found in sheep, cattle and horses. It can be transmitted to humans who have contact with infected animals.
The anthrax spore is highly resilient and can exist in the environment for decades.
Anthrax can be readily made in large quantities.
Very virulent antibiotic-resistant strains of anthrax have been produced.
Roughly 5 pounds of anthrax is enough to destroy half the population of Washington.
Military chemical masks can protect against anthrax used as a Biological Warfare Agents.
Anthrax is not transmitted from human to human.
Antibiotics are moderately effective is administered quickly and correctly.
There is a human anthrax vaccine. It consists of 6 doses with yearly booster shots. The first vaccine of the series must be given at least four weeks before exposure to the disease. A group of U.S. and Allied soldiers who went to the Gulf War, as many as 100,000, received the vaccine.
In 1998, 2.4 million troops of all services - including members of the National Guard and Reserve forces - were vaccinated against the disease as part of a drive to prepare for possible chemical and germ warfare attacks.
Anthrax spores can be destroyed by steam sterilization or burning.
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Date of Last Update: 07/27/12