Anthrax, most commonly occurs in Africa, Central Asia, South America, and the former U.S.S.R states.

It is transmitted to people by bacterial spores from infected sheep, goats, cattle, horses, or pigs, usually after close contact.

Canada customs restricts the importation of certain produces (products made from goat) because of their risk.

The 3 types of disease are:
1. Cutaneous
anthrax (after handling animals or their hides) affects skin.

Usually symptoms begin 1-5 days after exposure with ulcerations of the skin at points of contact.

The ulcers are dark red, itchy but rarely painful, and the adjacent lymph nodes may be inflamed. Other symptoms are fever, headache, nausea and anorexia. If untreated, uncontrolled infection may make the individual severely ill.

This disease was common in woolgatherers.
2. Pulmonary
anthrax occurs after inhaling spores and manifests as a dry cough, high fever, and chest pain.
3. Intestinal
anthrax occurs after eating infected meat causing diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

Both 2 and 3 are more severe but more rare than Cutaneous anthrax.

Diagnosis is made by culture. A mild skin infection will respond to antibiotics, but severe types require hospitalization.

The anthrax vaccine is an exotic vaccine, mostly used by the military.

It gives protection but this needs to be boosted. It is unavailable for travelers.

For more anthrax information check the following links:

New England Journal of Medicine http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/341/11/815

Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/anthrax/
eMedicine http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic148.htm
CDC http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/anthrax_g.htm