Anthrax In Australia

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Anthrax and Australia: Answers for the Health Minister Introduction: Bacillus Anthracis is a deadly organism that is contracted mostly from animals and their products. Anthrax has become increasingly more rare in Australia over the last decade, with only three reported cases in humans since 2001 (Australian Government, Department of Health and Aging, 2012). However few incidences of anthrax in humans there may be, it is still a major threat to the Australian population, in terms of health and the exportation and sale of animal goods produced in Australia, of which the Australian economy relies on. Australian livestock are at risk of anthrax infection from previous outbreaks because anthrax spores can survive in a dormant state in soil…show more content…
It can be contracted through contact with animals or infected animal skin products (e.g. sheep skin, wool or cow hides, which are used for clothing or seat covers, drum skins, etc.) (DAFF, 2008), The bacteria can enter the body through any minor abrasion, where it will then fester and form a necrotic ulcer, a painless red ring of inflamed flesh with a black center known as “eschar”. If left untreated for long enough, the bacteria eventually works it’s way into the blood stream (Thompson, M. W., 2003), causing septicemia and death in 5-20% of sufferers (BHC, 2012). • Gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax, as its name suggests, occurs when the bacteria is ingested. If an animal is infected with anthrax and is then slaughtered for its meat, and the infected meat is not cooked properly, the meat will leave the consumer with chronic stomach pains, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, loss of appetite and/or nausea. GI anthrax is significantly more serious than cutaneous anthrax and has a higher mortality rate of 25-60% (BHC, 2012). • Pulmonary anthrax is the least common, yet most deadly form of anthrax; this form of anthrax can be used as a weapon in bioterrorism. Bacteria spores are inhaled by victims, causing influenza like symptoms and eventually death to 70-80% of victims in spite of treatment (BHC, 2012). See the diagram below for the “cycle of infection”. Figure: Reproduction…show more content…
[Online] available at: [Viewed 13/09/2012] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2006) 'Anthrax - What You Need To Know' Division of Bio-terrorism Preparedness and Response. [Online] available at: [Viewed 06/09/2012] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2006) 'Fact Sheet - Anthrax Information for Health Care Providers ' Division of Bio-terrorism Preparedness and Response. [Viewed

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