Anthrax - Prevention

Although the possibility of infection is rare, anthrax can be a source of fear, confusion, and uncertainty. Please share how you've discussed the threat with your family.

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How can anthrax be prevented?

Public-health measures to prevent contact with infected animals are invaluable. There is a vaccine available for people at high risk (such as veterinarians, laboratory technicians, employees of textile mills processing imported goat hair, and members of the armed forces). The Department of Defense and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working very hard to prevent a bioterrorist attack and to be prepared to deal with the consequences if one occurs. For anthrax and other infectious diseases, vaccines with greater efficacy and fewer side effects are under development. Currently, most vaccines are given by injection into fat or muscle below the skin. Early studies in experimental animals are showing promise for an oral vaccine for anthrax. Obviously, a pill is easier to take than a shot, and the pill may even be a safer and more effective route of administration.

Anthrax At A Glance

  • Anthrax is an infection by bacteria transmitted from animals.
  • Anthrax causes skin, lung, and bowel disease and can be deadly.
  • Anthrax is diagnosed by cultures from infected tissues.
  • Anthrax is treated by antibiotics.
  • Anthrax can be prevented.
  • Sadly, the greatest threat of anthrax today is through a bioterrorist attack.
  • Federal, state, and local agencies are working hard to deal with this bioterrorist threat.

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