An acute infectious disease from the group of zoonoses, characterized by fever, damage to the lymphatic apparatus, intoxication, proceeds in the form of a skin, rarely intestinal, pulmonary and septic form. The causative agent is an aerobic bacterium - a fixed, large-sized stick with chopped ends. Outside the human and animal body, it forms spores that are highly resistant to physico-chemical influences. The source of anthrax bacteria is sick or dead animals. Human infection is often carried out by contact (when cutting carcasses of animals, processing hides, etc.) and by eating foods contaminated with spores, as well as through water, soil, fur products, etc.
Symptoms and course:The disease most often affects the skin, less often - internal organs.
The incubation period is from 2 to 14 days.
With a skin form (carbunculous), open areas of the body are most susceptible to damage. The disease is severe when the carbuncles are located in the head, neck, mucous membranes of the mouth and nose. There are single and multiple carbuncles. At first (at the place of the entrance gate of the microbe) a reddish spot appears, itchy, similar to an insect bite. During the day, the skin visibly tightens, itching intensifies, often turning into a burning sensation, a vesicle develops in place of the spot - a bubble filled with serous contents, then blood. Patients, when combing, tear the vesicle and an ulcer with a black bottom is formed. From this moment, there is a rise in temperature, headache, and appetite disorder. The edges of the ulcer from the moment of opening begin to swell, forming an inflammatory cushion, swelling occurs, which begins to spread rapidly. The bottom of the ulcer sinks more and more, and “daughter” vesicles with transparent contents form around the edges. This growth of ulcers lasts 5-6 days. By the end of the first day, the ulcer reaches a size of 8-15 mm and from that moment is called anthrax carbuncle. The peculiarity of the anthrax carbuncle is the absence of pain in the necrosis zone and a characteristic three-color color: black in the center (scab), around it a narrow yellowish-purulent border, then a wide crimson shaft. Damage to the lymphatic system (lymphadenitis) is possible.
With a successful course of the disease, after 5-6 days, the temperature decreases, overall health improves, swelling decreases, lymphangitis and lymphadenitis fade, the scab is rejected, the wound heals with the formation of a scar. In an adverse course, secondary sepsis develops with a repeated rise in temperature, a significant deterioration in the general condition, an increase in headache, an increase in tachycardia, and the appearance of secondary pustules on the skin. There may be bloody vomiting and diarrhea. Death is not excluded.
In the intestinal form (alimentary anthrax sepsis), toxicosis develops from the first hours of the disease. There is a sharp weakness, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, bloody diarrhea. The patient's condition progressively worsens. Secondary pustular and hemorrhagic rashes are possible on the skin. Soon comes anxiety, shortness of breath, cyanosis. Possible meningoencephalitis. Patients die from growing heart failure 3-4 days after the onset of the disease.
The pulmonary form of anthrax is characterized by a rapid onset: chills, a sharp increase in temperature, pain and a feeling of tightness in the chest, cough with frothy sputum, rapidly increasing manifestations of general intoxication, respiratory and cardiovascular insufficiency.
Clinically and radiologically determined bronchopneumonia and effusion hemorrhagic pleurisy. Death occurs on day 2-3 as a result of pulmonary edema and collapse.
The septic form proceeds very rapidly and ends in death.
Treatment:Regardless of the clinical form of the disease, treatment consists of pathogenetic and etiotropic therapy (the use of specific anti-anthrax globulin and penicillin antibiotics and semi-synthetic ones).
The prognosis for skin forms of anthrax is favorable. In septic cases, it is doubtful, even with treatment started early.
Prevention:Proper organization of veterinary supervision, vaccination of pets. In the event of the death of animals from anthrax, the carcasses of animals must be burned, and the food products received from them must be destroyed. According to epidemic indications, people are vaccinated with the STI vaccine. Persons in contact with sick animals or people are subject to active medical supervision for 2 weeks.