Natural B. anthracis infections are rare in developed countries and relatively few cases have been reported. When anthrax infection does occur, it primarily presents itself in three different ways: pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous. A rare fourth syndrome involving soft tissue infection in injectional drug users is emerging due to unsanitary practices. The deadliness of anthrax depends on the route of infection. Aerosolized endospores, targeting the inhalation route, are relatively easy to disseminate and were goals of bioweapons programs. Unfortunately, pulmonary anthrax infection is the most deadly form of anthrax. After inhalation, endospores may stay dormant within the lung for extended periods before the host begins to show symptoms. During an accidental release of anthrax spores in 1979 from a former Soviet biological warfare facility in Sverdlovsk, human anthrax disease appeared between 2 to 43 days after exposure. The respiratory infection in humans presents flulike symptoms for several days followed by severe respiratory collapse and major organ failures. (Anthrax Bioterrorism and Current Vaccines: Chen S, et al.)
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Last date updated on June, 2014