1. A disease in humans caused by infection by cutaneous a. (q.v.) followed by septicemia with the bacterium Bacillus anthracis from infected animals through skin; marked by hemorrhage and serous effusions in various organs and body cavities and by symptoms of extreme prostration. Rarely, infection is airborne, causing rapidly fatal pneumonia. This is the most severe form. 2. An infectious disease of animals, especially herbivores, due to presence in the blood of Bacillus anthracis. SYN: charbon. [G. a. (anthrak-), charcoal, coal, a carbuncle]
- cerebral a. a form of a., associated with pulmonary or intestinal a., in which the specific bacilli invade the capillaries of the brain causing violent delirium; frequently associated with hemorrhagic meningitis.
- cutaneous a. the skin of B. anthracis infection characteristic lesion that begins as a papule and soon becomes a vesicle and breaks, discharging a bloody serum; the seat of this vesicle, in about 36 hours, becomes a bluish black necrotic mass; constitutional symptoms of septicemia are severe: high fever, vomiting, profuse sweating, and extreme prostration; the infection is often fatal. SYN: malignant pustule.
- intestinal a. a usually fatal form of a. marked by chill, high fever, pain in the head, back, and extremities, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, cardiovascular collapse, and frequently hemorrhages from the mucous membranes and in the skin (petechiae). SEE ALSO: mycosis intestinalis.
- pulmonary a. a form of a. acquired by inhalation of dust containing Bacillus anthracis; there is an initial chill followed by pain in the back and legs, rapid respiration, dyspnea, cough, fever, rapid pulse, and extreme cardiovascular collapse. SYN: ragpicker's disease, ragsorter's disease, woolsorter's disease, woolsorter's pneumonia.

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an·thrax 'an-.thraks n, pl -thra·ces -thrə-.sēz an infectious disease of warm-blooded animals (as cattle and sheep) caused by a spore-forming bacterium (Bacillus anthracis), transmissible to humans esp. by the handling of infected products (as hair), and characterized by external ulcerating nodules or by lesions in the lungs

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an acute infectious disease of farm animals caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which can be transmitted to humans by contact with animal hair, hides, or excrement. In humans the disease attacks either the lungs, causing pneumonia, or the skin, producing severe ulceration (known as malignant pustule). Woolsorter's disease is a serious infection of the skin or lungs by B. anthracis, affecting those handling wool or pelts (see occupational disease). Untreated anthrax can be fatal but administration of large doses of penicillin or tetracycline is usually effective.

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an·thrax (anґthraks) [Gr. “coal,” “carbuncle”] an infectious disease caused by infection with Bacillus anthracis. In herbivores it is acquired through ingestion of the bacillus or its spores from infected pastures. In carnivores it is acquired indirectly when they eat carcasses of infected animals. Humans can become infected by contact with infected animals, their bodily discharges, or contaminated animal products. Types named for primary routes of inoculation include cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and inhalational. anthracic adj

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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