Anthrax an infectious disease of animals (such as cattle and sheep) caused by a spore-forming bacterium, transmissible to humans especially by the handling of infected animal products (such as wool), and characterized by cutaneousulcerating nodules or by often fatal lesions in the lungs.
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals. There are effective vaccines against anthrax, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment. Like many other members of the genus Bacillus, Bacillus anthracis can form dormant endospores (often referred to as 'spores' for short, but not to be confused with fungal spores) that are able to survive in harsh conditions for decades or even centuries. Such spores can be found on all continents, even Antarctica. When spores are inhaled, ingested, or come into contact with a skin lesion on a host, they may become reactivated and multiply rapidly. Anthrax commonly infects wild and domesticated herbivorous mammals that ingest or inhale the spores while grazing. Ingestion is thought to be the most common route by which herbivores contract anthrax.
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