Photo modified from https://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/basics/types/index.html
Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax occurs naturally when people are working with infected animals or animal products such as wool, hides or hair. However, there is also concern that anthrax may be used in a bioterrorism attack, and it is considered a Category A Bioterrorism Agent/Disease (highest priority threat https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/agentlist-category.asp). The type of illness a person develops depend on the method of anthrax exposure. While exposure via cuts and scrapes is most common, this form (cutaneous) is least dangerous. Inhalation of anthrax bacteria is the most concerning. All forms of anthrax can eventually spread throughout the body and cause death if not treated with antibiotics. Anthrax is generally not contagious from person to person.
Anthrax is immediately reportable in Orange County, even if the case has not yet been confirmed but is suspected. To report a case, health care providers/facilities should call OCHCA Epidemiology at 714-834-8180. The last human case of anthrax reported in Orange County was in 1928.
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