Diagnosis and Prevention of Anthrax

Diagnosis and Prevention of Anthrax


We know by now that we need to eat the right foods, need to work out, and do stuff that is healthy for us. Because maintaining good health does not happen by accident, it requires work and smart lifestyle choices. But sometimes when we wake up at 6 am to hit the gym before work or shunning the donuts in breakfast, it’s easy to lose sight of for what are we doing all these. So here are some top articles choices that can keep you motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle and keep diseases at bay.

Diagnosis and Prevention of Anthrax

Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis and we all know about the seriousness of the disease, especially in the modern day setting as anthrax bacilli are used as bioweapon. Anthrax (pulmonary anthrax and not intestinal or cutaneous anthrax) have high mortality even in treated cases, e.g. in the last pulmonary anthrax attack in the United States in 2001, the mortality was 45% despite early diagnosis and prompt and appropriate treatment. But mortality was much higher previously in history as recorded in history which exceeds 90%.

As anthrax (pulmonary anthrax) has high mortality it is of vital importance to diagnose the disease as early as possible and initiate appropriate treatment at the earliest to improve prognosis. History and a sound clinical knowledge about the disease are very important for diagnosis of anthrax. Cutaneous anthrax produce typical skin lesion. The most important and confirmatory diagnostic procedure is to identify the causative organism (Bacillus anthracis). Generally Gram’s stain is done with the specimen and the organisms are Gram positive, but as they age they become Gram variable and even Gram negative. Presence of spores confirms the diagnosis of bacilli species and usually anthrax bacilli. Alternatively the organism can be cultured and identified by laboratory techniques.

Prevention of anthrax:

Fortunately effective vaccines are available against anthrax. The first effective anthrax vaccine was demonstrated by French scientist Louis Pasteur in 1881. Presently United States FDA approves use of anthrax vaccine brand name BioThrax, produced by BioPort Corporation. The vaccine is adsorbed vaccine, manufactured from a non-virulent strain of the anthrax bacterium. At present the vaccine is given (according to United States FDA recommendation) in five dose series given at 0, 4 weeks and 6, 12, 18 months. Booster doses are recommended every year to maintain immunity.

In the Russian federation a live spore anthrax vaccine is used, but has serious side effects, which limit its use in masses.

At present recombinant protective antigen vaccines are under study and results are awaited.

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