Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis and infections in cattle often result in sporadic outbreaks characterised by acute septicemia with a high fatality rate, often accompanied by hemorrhagic lymphadenitis. This disease is still endemic in many regions in developing countries.
In dogs, humans, horses, and pigs, it is usually less acute. Humans become infected by butchering sick animals, handling raw meat or contact with infected animals.
Postmortem findings are consistent with generalized vasculitis, with engorgement of spleen and liver. Rigor mortis is frequently absent or incomplete.
Diagnosis can be suggested by clinical findings but accurate laboratory assessment is required by bacterial culture, immunoflourescence and PCR assays.
Government-regulated vaccination schedules are usually implemented with modified live vaccines. Vaccination has been highly effective in preventing anthrax on farms, specifically if given prior to the season in which outbreaks generally occur.
Rapid detection and reporting, quarantine and burning or burial of suspect and confirmed cases is usually mandatory.
- Merck Vet Manual
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