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Anthrax

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to health.

 

Anthrax

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Anthrax- causes, effects, symptoms and prevention, location of Pobitora sanctuary.

 

Context: Anthrax scare at Assam’s Pobitora sanctuary after death of 2 buffaloes Asiatic Water Buffaloes.

 

What is anthrax?

A disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a germ that lives in soil.

Affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats more often than people. People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat, or hides.

Spread: It does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another; it is spread by spores. These spores can be transported by clothing or shoes.

 

Symptoms & Infection:

Respiratory infection in humans initially presents with cold or flu-like symptoms for several days, followed by pneumonia and severe (and often fatal) respiratory collapse.

Gastrointestinal (GI) infection in humans is most often caused by consuming anthrax-infected meat and is characterized by serious GI difficulty, vomiting of blood, severe diarrhea, acute inflammation of the intestinal tract, and loss of appetite.

Cutaneous anthrax, also known as Hide porter’s disease, is the cutaneous (on the skin) manifestation of anthrax infection in humans.

 

Treatment:

  • The standard treatment for anthrax is a 60-day course of an antibiotic. Treatment is most effective when started as soon as possible.
  • Although some cases of anthrax respond to antibiotics, advanced inhalation anthrax may not. By the later stages of the disease, the bacteria have often produced more toxins than drugs can eliminate.

 

Use in Bioterrorism:

Anthrax has been used in biological warfare by agents and by terrorists to intentionally infect. It was spread in US through a mail. It killed 5 people and made 22 sick.

 

Facts for prelims:

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has the highest concentration of one-horned rhinos in the world.

Asiatic water buffalo is the state animal of Chhattisgarh.

Asian buffalo is a large bovine native to the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It has been listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List since 1986, as the remaining population totals less than 4,000.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

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