Can I get anthrax?
Yes. Anthrax can enter through a break or abrasion in the skin after direct contact with infected animals or their products, such as blood, wool or hides. Anthrax may also be transferred by biting flies. Within a few days, redness, and swelling occur followed by a black scab at the site of infection. The cutaneous (skin) form is most commonly seen with natural infections of anthrax.
Anthrax can also be inhaled (aerosol) in contaminated dust from the environment or animal products (e.g., hides, wool). This form of the disease is the most severe and can lead to death. Fever, coughing, severe chest pain and difficulty in breathing may occur. Early treatment with antibiotics is important.
People can become infected orally by eating undercooked meat of infected animals. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and severe, bloody diarrhea may occur.
Who should I contact if I suspect anthrax?
In animals – Contact your veterinarian immediately. In humans – Contact your physician immediately.