Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Anthrax

Contributor(s): Christopher Brown, Melissa Kennedy, Graham Munroe

Introduction

  • Contagious, bacterial disease caused byBacillus anthracis.
  • Incidence: mainly herbivores; zoonotic; reportable in USA and Canada; worldwide but outbreaks rare and sporadic in Europe and North America.
  • Signs: fever and rapid death.
  • Diagnosis: microscopic examination of stained blood films.
  • Treatment: often not possible.
  • Prevention: vaccination is recommended in enzootic areas.
  • Prognosis: poor to grave.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Bacillus anthracis.
  • Large Gram-positive bacillus regularly encapsulated in tissues.
  • Highly resistant spores form in abundance when bacteria are in presence of air.

Predisposing factors

General
  • Enzootic areas - high level of contamination of environment.

Specific

  • Spore-containing material including cadavers, animal hides and objects derived from them.
  • Ingestion of contaminated material.

Pathophysiology

  • Rapidly fatal, bacterial infection transmitted through alimentary tract, injured skin and inhalation.
  • Unknown in equine.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Turnbull P C, Lindeque P M, Le Roux J, Bennett A M & Parks S R (1998) Airborne movement of anthrax from carcass site in the Etosha National Park, Namibia. J Appl Microbiol 84 (4), 667-676 PubMed.
  • Hanna P (1998) How anthrax kills. Science 280 (5370), 1671 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • The American Association of Equine Practitioners' Vaccination Guidelines Subcommitteee of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents (1995) Guidelines for Vaccination of Horses. JAVMA 207 (4), 426-431.


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