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Human anthrax: Update of the diagnosis and treatment

Doganay, Mehmet, Dinc, Gokcen, Kutmanova, Ainura and Baillie, Les ORCID: 2023. Human anthrax: Update of the diagnosis and treatment. Diagnostics 13 (6) , 1056. 10.3390/diagnostics13061056

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Anthrax is one of the most important zoonotic diseases which primarily infects herbivores and occasionally humans. The etiological agent is Bacillus anthracis which is a Gram-positive, aerobic, spore-forming, nonmotile, rod-shaped bacillus. The spores are resistant to environmental conditions and remain viable for a long time in contaminated soil, which is the main reservoir for wild and domestic mammals. Infections still occur in low-income countries where they cause suffering and economic hardship. Humans are infected by contact with ill or dead animals, contaminated animal products, directly exposed to the spores in the environment or spores released as a consequence of a bioterrorist event. Three classical clinical forms of the disease, cutaneous, gastrointestinal and inhalation, are seen, all of which can potentially lead to sepsis or meningitis. A new clinical form in drug users has been described recently and named “injectional anthrax” with high mortality (>33%). The symptoms of anthrax in the early stage mimics many diseases and as a consequence it is important to confirm the diagnosis using a bacterial culture or a molecular test. With regards to treatment, human isolates are generally susceptible to most antibiotics with penicillin G and amoxicillin as the first choice, and ciprofloxacin and doxycycline serving as alternatives. A combination of one or more antibiotics is suggested in systemic anthrax. Controlling anthrax in humans depends primarily on effective control of the disease in animals. Spore vaccines are used in veterinary service, and an acellular vaccine is available for humans but its use is limited.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2075-4418
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 8 March 2023
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 19:20

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