Meta Description: Bacillus anthracis a Category A agent with the potential to be used in a large-scale bioterrorism attack. The current vaccine, known as Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA), consists of a culture filtrate from an attenuated strain adsorbed to aluminum salts as an adjuvant.
Bacillus anthracis, a rod-shaped, Gram-positive, aerobic bacterium, is the etiologic agent of the acute disease anthrax. The bacterium can form endospores that survive in harsh conditions for decades. After endospore exposure to humans or animals, illness occurs after secretion of two toxins, lethal toxin (LeTx) and edema toxin (EdTx). Depending on the route of exposure, mortality can be over 50%, even with supportive care.
Because of the high virulence characteristic, anthrax is attractive as a potential bioweapon. Indeed, it has been used previously to incapacitate foreign economies or as fear tactics. In World War I, German and French agents used glanders and anthrax in order to infect foreign nations’ livestock; in World War II, Japan used anthrax, plague, and other diseases on populations to test bioweapon potential.
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