Anthrax: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 1/23/2020

Anthrax is a life-threatening infectious disease. The infection normally affects animals, especially ruminants (such as goats, cattle, sheep, and horses).

There are four forms of disease that anthrax causes:

  • cutaneous (skin) anthrax,
  • inhalation anthrax,
  • gastrointestinal (bowel) anthrax, and
  • injection anthrax.

Signs and symptoms of anthrax depend on the type and can include a skin sore that is blistering, reddened, and hard. It typically forms a black scar called an eschar. Other associated symptoms and signs (dependent upon the type) can include

Cause of anthrax

Infection with Bacillus anthracis bacteria causes anthrax. The infection spreads to humans by contact with infected animals or their products. The most common route of infection is through the skin.

Other anthrax symptoms and signs


Bowel regularity means a bowel movement every day. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.