When swallowed, anthrax spores may cause lesions from the oral cavity to the cecum. Gastrointestinal anthrax is greatly underreported in rural disease-endemic areas of the world. The apparent paucity of this form of anthrax reflects the lack of facilities able to make the diagnosis in these areas. The spectrum of disease, ranging from subclinical infection to death, has not been fully recognized. In some community-based studies, cases of gastrointestinal anthrax outnumbered those of cutaneous anthrax. The oropharyngeal variant, in particular, is unfamiliar to most physicians. The clinical features of oropharyngeal anthrax include fever and toxemia, inflammatory lesion(s) in the oral cavity or oropharynx, enlargement of cervical lymph nodes associated with edema of the soft tissue of the cervical area, and a high case-fatality rate. Awareness of gastrointestinal anthrax in a differential diagnosis remains important in anthrax-endemic areas but now also in settings of possible bioterrorism.
anthrax; anthrax classification; anthrax epidemiology; anthrax diagnosis; bioterrorism
Anthrax is a disease of human beings and animals caused by the encapsulated, spore-forming, Bacillus anthracis. The potential role of insects in the spread of B. anthracis to humans and domestic animals during an anthrax outbreak has been confirmed by many studies. Among insect vectors, the house fly Musca domestica is considered a potential agent for disease transmission. In this study, laboratory-bred specimens of Musca domestica were infected by feeding on anthrax-infected rabbit carcass or anthrax contaminated blood, and the presence of anthrax spores in their spots (faeces and vomitus) was microbiologically monitored. It was also evaluated if the anthrax spores were able to germinate and replicate in the gut content of insects. These results confirmed the role of insects in spreading anthrax infection. This role, although not major, given the huge size of fly populations often associated with anthrax epidemics in domestic animals, cannot be neglected from an epidemiological point of view and suggest that fly control should be considered as part of anthrax control programs.
Results are presented from a number of epidemiological studies using enzyme immunoassays (EIA) based on the purified anthrax toxin antigens, protective antigen, lethal factor and oedema factor. Studies on sera from a group of 62 human anthrax patients in Turkey and from cattle in Britain following two unrelated outbreaks of anthrax show that EIA using protective antigen can be a useful diagnostic aid and will detect subclinical infections in appropriate circumstances. A serological survey on wildlife in the Etosha National Park, Namibia, where anthrax is endemic, showed that naturally acquired anthrax-specific antibodies are rare in herbivores but common in carnivores; in carnivores, titres appear to reflect the prevalence of anthrax in their ranges. Problems, as yet unresolved, were encountered in studies on sera from pigs following an outbreak of anthrax on a farm in Wales. Clinical details, including treatment, of the human and one of the bovine outbreaks are summarized and discussed in relation to the serological findings.
Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. It is potentially fatal and highly contagious disease. Herbivores are the natural host. Human acquire the disease incidentally by contact with infected animal or animal products. In the 18th century an epidemic destroyed approximately half of the sheep in Europe. In 1900 human inhalational anthrax occured sporadically in the United States. In 1979 an outbreak of human anthrax occured in Sverdlovsk of Soviet Union. Anthrax continued to represent a world wide presence. The incidence of the disease has decreased in developed countries as a result of vaccination and improved industrial hygiene. Human anthrax clinically presents in three forms, i.e. cutaneous, gastrointestinal and inhalational. About 95% of human anthrax is cutaneous and 5% is inhalational. Gastrointestinal anthrax is very rare (less than 1%). Inhalational form is used as a biological warefare agent. Penicillin, ciprofloxacin (and other quinolones), doxicyclin, ampicillin, imipenem, clindamycin, clarithromycin, vancomycin, chloramphenicol, rifampicin are effective antimicrobials. Antimicrobial therapy for 60 days is recommended. Human anthrax vaccine is available. Administration of anti-protective antigen (PA) antibody in combination with ciprofloxacin produced 90%-100% survival. The combination of CPG-adjuvanted anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) plus dalbavancin significantly improved survival.
Anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; Zoonotic disease; Contagious disease; Cutaneous anthrax; Inhalational anthrax; Gastrointestinal anthrax; Human anthrax
Q fever is a zoonosis caused by Coxiella burnetii, a Gram negative bacterium present worldwide. Small ruminants are considered the main reservoirs for infection of humans. This study aimed to estimate the extent of C. burnetii infection among sheep and goats in part of The Gambia.
This survey was carried out from March to May 2012 at two areas in The Gambia. The first area comprised a cluster of seven rural villages situated 5–15 km west of Farafenni as well as the local abattoir. A second sampling was done at the central abattoir in Abuko (30 km from the capital, Banjul) in the Western Region. Serum samples were obtained from 490 goats and 398 sheep. In addition, 67 milk samples were obtained from lactating dams. Sera were tested with a Q fever ELISA kit. C. burnetii DNA was extracted from milk samples and then detected using a specific quantitative multiplex PCR assay, targeting the IS1111a element. A multivariable mixed logistic regression model was used to examine the relationship between seropositivity and explanatory variables. An overall seroprevalence of 21.6% was found. Goats had a significantly higher seroprevalence than sheep, respectively 24.2% and 18.5%. Seropositive animals were significantly older than seronegative animals. Animals from the villages had a significantly lower seroprevalence than animals from the central abattoir (15.1% versus 29.1%). C. burnetii DNA was detected in 2 out of 67 milk samples, whereas 8 samples gave a doubtful result.
A substantial C. burnetii seroprevalence in sheep and goats in The Gambia was demonstrated. People living in close proximity to small ruminants are exposed to C. burnetii. Q fever should be considered as a possible cause of acute febrile illness in humans in The Gambia. Future studies should include a simultaneous assessment of veterinary and human serology, and include aetiology of febrile illness in local clinics.
Protective antigen (PA)-based anthrax vaccines acting on toxins are less effective than live attenuated vaccines, suggesting that additional antigens may contribute to protective immunity. Several reports indicate that capsule or spore-associated antigens may enhance the protection afforded by PA. Addition of formaldehyde-inactivated spores (FIS) to PA (PA-FIS) elicits total protection against cutaneous anthrax. Nevertheless, vaccines that are effective against cutaneous anthrax may not be so against inhalational anthrax. The aim of this work was to optimize immunization with PA-FIS and to assess vaccine efficacy against inhalational anthrax. We assessed the immune response to recombinant anthrax PA from Bacillus anthracis (rPA)-FIS administered by various immunization protocols and the protection provided to mice and guinea pigs infected through the respiratory route with spores of a virulent strain of B. anthracis. Combined subcutaneous plus intranasal immunization of mice yielded a mucosal immunoglobulin G response to rPA that was more than 20 times higher than that in lung mucosal secretions after subcutaneous vaccination. The titers of toxin-neutralizing antibody and antispore antibody were also significantly higher: nine and eight times higher, respectively. The optimized immunization elicited total protection of mice intranasally infected with the virulent B. anthracis strain 17JB. Guinea pigs were fully protected, both against an intranasal challenge with 100 50% lethal doses (LD50) and against an aerosol with 75 LD50 of spores of the highly virulent strain 9602. Conversely, immunization with PA alone did not elicit protection. These results demonstrate that the association of PA and spores is very much more effective than PA alone against experimental inhalational anthrax.
Anthrax is a soil-borne disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and is considered a neglected zoonosis. In the country of Georgia, recent reports have indicated an increase in the incidence of human anthrax. Identifying sub-national areas of increased risk may help direct appropriate public health control measures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the spatial distribution of human anthrax and identify environmental/anthropogenic factors associated with persistent clusters.
A database of human cutaneous anthrax in Georgia during the period 2000–2009 was constructed using a geographic information system (GIS) with case data recorded to the community location. The spatial scan statistic was used to identify persistence of human cutaneous anthrax. Risk factors related to clusters of persistence were modeled using a multivariate logistic regression. Areas of persistence were identified in the southeastern part of the country. Results indicated that the persistence of human cutaneous anthrax showed a strong positive association with soil pH and urban areas.
Anthrax represents a persistent threat to public and veterinary health in Georgia. The findings here showed that the local level heterogeneity in the persistence of human cutaneous anthrax necessitates directed interventions to mitigate the disease. High risk areas identified in this study can be targeted for public health control measures such as farmer education and livestock vaccination campaigns.
Anthrax is a zoonotic bacterial disease that occurs nearly worldwide. Despite a large number of countries reporting endemic anthrax, persistence of the disease appears to be associated with specific ecological factors related to soil composition and climatic conditions. Human cases are most often associated with handling infected livestock or contaminated meat and most cases are in cutaneous form (skin infections). Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country of Georgia has undergone major restructuring in land management and livestock handling and anthrax remains a serious public health risk. Few studies have evaluated the local spatial patterns of human anthrax. Here we identify areas on the landscape where human cutaneous anthrax persisted over the last decade. Persistence was found to be associated with both anthropogenic and environmental factors including soil pH and livestock density. These findings aid in the establishment of spatial baseline estimates of the disease and allow public health officials to adopt targeted anthrax control strategies, such as livestock vaccination campaigns and farmer education.
Bacillus anthracis spores cause natural infections and are used as biological weapons. Inhalation infection with B. anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, is almost always lethal, yet cutaneous infections usually remain localized and resolve spontaneously. Neutrophils are typically recruited to cutaneous but seldom to other forms of anthrax infections, raising the possibility that neutrophils kill B. anthracis. In this study we infected human neutrophils with either spores or vegetative bacteria of a wild-type strain, or strains, expressing only one of the two major virulence factors. The human neutrophils engulfed B. anthracis spores, which germinated intracellularly and were then efficiently killed. Interestingly, neutrophil killing was independent of reactive oxygen species production. We fractionated a human neutrophil granule extract by high-performance liquid chromatography and identified α-defensins as the component responsible for B. anthracis killing. These data suggest that the timely recruitment of neutrophils can control cutaneous infections and possibly other forms of B. anthracis infections, and that α-defensins play an important role in the potent anti-B. anthracis activity of neutrophils.
Bacillus anthracis is the bacterium that causes anthrax, a disease that can occur through natural infections and also through intentional release. B. anthracis makes spores, which are in a dormant state, similar to seeds of a plant, and are extremely resistant to the environment. B. anthracis spores can infect through the skin or the lung. Lung infections disseminate through the body and are lethal. In contrast, skin infections often remain localized, and patients survive even without treatment. It is not well understood why these bacteria cause a localized infection through the skin and a lethal disease through the lung.
Little is known about how B. anthracis is controlled. Neutrophils are the first white blood cells recruited to a site of infection and are specialized in killing microbes. Previous studies show that neutrophils are abundant in the skin form, but not in the lung form of anthrax. The researchers report that human neutrophils can take up B. anthracis spores. Once inside, the spores germinate to form vegetative bacteria. The vegetative bacteria are extremely susceptible to neutrophil-killing mechanisms. The B. anthracis virulence factors (molecules that make bacteria cause diseases) manipulate other human cells but do not deter neutrophils. B. anthracis is indeed exquisitely sensitive to the neutrophil protein α-defensin. These data support a new model where B. anthracis skin, but not lung, infections are controlled by the antimicrobial activity of neutrophils.
Bacillus anthracis infection is rare in developed countries. However, recent outbreaks in the United States and Europe and the potential use of the bacteria for bioterrorism have focused interest on it. Furthermore, although anthrax was known to typically occur as one of three syndromes related to entry site of (i.e., cutaneous, gastrointestinal, or inhalational), a fourth syndrome including severe soft tissue infection in injectional drug users is emerging. Although shock has been described with cutaneous anthrax, it appears much more common with gastrointestinal, inhalational (5 of 11 patients in the 2001 outbreak in the United States), and injectional anthrax. Based in part on case series, the estimated mortalities of cutaneous, gastrointestinal, inhalational, and injectional anthrax are 1%, 25 to 60%, 46%, and 33%, respectively. Nonspecific early symptomatology makes initial identification of anthrax cases difficult. Clues to anthrax infection include history of exposure to herbivore animal products, heroin use, or clustering of patients with similar respiratory symptoms concerning for a bioterrorist event. Once anthrax is suspected, the diagnosis can usually be made with Gram stain and culture from blood or surgical specimens followed by confirmatory testing (e.g., PCR or immunohistochemistry). Although antibiotic therapy (largely quinolone-based) is the mainstay of anthrax treatment, the use of adjunctive therapies such as anthrax toxin antagonists is a consideration.
Bacillus anthracis; diagnosis; pathogenesis; treatment
From August 2009 to October 2010, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh and the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research together investigated 14 outbreaks of anthrax which included 140 animal and 273 human cases in 14 anthrax-affected villages. Our investigation objectives were to explore the context in which these outbreaks occurred, including livestock rearing practices, human handling of sick and dead animals, and the anthrax vaccination program.
Field anthropologists used qualitative data-collection tools, including 15 hours of unstructured observations, 11 key informant interviews, 32 open-ended interviews, and 6 group discussions in 5 anthrax-affected villages.
Each cattle owner in the affected communities raised a median of six ruminants on their household premises. The ruminants were often grazed in pastures and fed supplementary rice straw, green grass, water hyacinth, rice husk, wheat bran, and oil cake; lactating cows were given dicalcium phosphate. Cattle represented a major financial investment. Since Islamic law forbids eating animals that die from natural causes, when anthrax-infected cattle were moribund, farmers often slaughtered them on the household premises while they were still alive so that the meat could be eaten. Farmers ate the meat and sold it to neighbors. Skinners removed and sold the hides from discarded carcasses. Farmers discarded the carcasses and slaughtering waste into ditches, bodies of water, or open fields. Cattle in the affected communities did not receive routine anthrax vaccine due to low production, poor distribution, and limited staffing for vaccination.
Slaughtering anthrax-infected animals and disposing of butchering waste and carcasses in environments where ruminants live and graze, combined with limited vaccination, provided a context that permitted repeated anthrax outbreaks in animals and humans. Because of strong financial incentives, slaughtering moribund animals and discarding carcasses and waste products will likely continue. Long-term vaccination coverage for at-risk animal populations may reduce anthrax infection.
anthrax; Bangladesh; ruminants; vulture; qualitative
Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. Naturally occurring human infection is rare and is generally the result of contact with anthrax-infected animals or animal products.
We examined three patients who had contact with presumed anthrax-infected animal and/or its product and presented with preseptal cellulitis with a localized itchy erythematous papule of the eyelid and non-pitting periorbital edema, followed by ulceration and dark eschar formation. All the three patients responded to intravenous antibiotics, and the lesion resolved leaving scars which caused cicatricial ectropion in all cases.
Anthrax is a rare disease but should be considered in the differential diagnosis of ulcerative (and eschar forming) preseptal cellulitis with a history of contact with anthrax-infected animals or animal products. Furthermore, cicatrization of the eyelids, one of the sequelae of periocular cutaneous anthrax, should be addressed. Urgent case report to the local zoonotic disease and infection control body and other responsible authorities is recommended.
Anthrax; Preseptal cellulitis; Bacillus anthracis; Zoonotic disease; Eye lid
Anthrax, a potentially fatal infection, is a virulent and highly contagious disease. It is caused by a gram-positive, toxigenic, spore-forming bacillus: Bacillus anthracis. For centuries, anthrax has caused disease in animals and, although uncommonly, in humans throughout the world. Descriptions of this naturally occurring disease begin in antiquity. Anthrax is primarily a disease of herbivores, which are infected by ingestion of spores from the soil. With the advent of modern microbiology, Pasteur developed the first successful anthrax vaccine in 1881. The incidence of the disease has continually decreased since the late 19th century, and animal vaccination programs drastically reduced the animal mortality from the disease. However, anthrax spores continue to be documented in soil samples from throughout the world. Research on anthrax as a biological weapon began more than 80 years ago, and today at least 17 nations are believed to have offensive biological weapons programs that include anthrax. Recent events in the USA have shown how society is affected by both hoax and real threats of anthrax bioweapons. This fourth article in the series on weapons of biowarfare/bioterrorism summarizes the historical background of anthrax as well as clinical and laboratory information useful for bioterrorism preparedness.
Anthrax has been described as a veterinary disease of minor importance to clinical medicine, causing occasional occupational infections in single cases or clusters. Its potential for rapid and widespread epidemic transmission under natural circumstances has not been widely appreciated. A little-known 1770 epidemic that killed 15,000 people in Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti) was probably intestinal anthrax. The epidemic spread rapidly throughout the colony in association with consumption of uncooked beef. Large-scale, highly fatal epidemics of anthrax may occur under unusual but natural circumstances. Historical information may not only provide important clues about epidemic development but may also raise awareness about bioterrorism potential.
anthrax; epidemiology; medical history
Outbreaks of Bacillus anthracis in the US and Europe over the past 10 years have emphasized the health threat this lethal bacteria poses even for developed parts of the world. In contrast to cutaneous anthrax, inhalational disease in the US during the 2001 outbreaks and the newly identified injectional drug use form of disease in the UK and Germany have been associated with relatively high mortality rates. One notable aspect of these cases has been the difficulty in supporting patients once shock has developed. Anthrax bacilli produce several different components which likely contribute to this shock. Growing evidence indicates that both major anthrax toxins may produce substantial cardiovascular dysfunction. Lethal toxin (LT) can alter peripheral vascular function; it also has direct myocardial depressant effects. Edema toxin (ET) may have even more pronounced peripheral vascular effects than LT, including the ability to interfere with the actions of conventional vasopressors. Additionally, ET also appears capable of interfering with renal sodium and water retention. Importantly, the two toxins exert their actions via quite different mechanisms and therefore have the potential to worsen shock and outcome in an additive fashion. Finally, both toxins have the ability to inhibit host defense and microbial clearance, possibly contributing to the very high bacterial loads noted in patients dying with anthrax. This last point is clinically relevant since emerging data has begun to implicate other bacterial components such as anthrax cell wall in the shock and organ injury observed with infection. Taken together, accumulating evidence regarding the potential contribution of LT and ET to anthrax-associated shock supports efforts to develop adjunctive therapies that target both toxins in patients with progressive shock.
anthrax; lethal toxin; edema toxin; shock; myocardial function
Human cutaneous anthrax results from skin exposure to B. anthracis, primarily due to occupational exposure. Bangladesh has experienced a number of outbreaks of cutaneous anthrax in recent years. The last episode occurred from April to August, 2011 and created mass havoc due to its dreadful clinical outcome and socio-cultural consequences. We report here the clinico-demographic profile and treatment outcome of 15 cutaneous anthrax cases attended at the Dermatology Outpatient Department of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, Bangladesh between April and August, 2011 with an aim to create awareness for early case detection and management.
Anthrax was suspected primarily based on cutaneous manifestations of typical non-tender ulcer with black eschar, with or without oedema, and a history of butchering, or dressing/washing of cattle/goat or their meat. Diagnosis was established by demonstration of large gram-positive rods, typically resembling B. anthracis under light microscope where possible and also by ascertaining therapeutic success. The mean age of cases was 21.4 years (ranging from 3 to 46 years), 7 (46.7%) being males and 8 (53.3%) females. The majority of cases were from lower middle socioeconomic status. Types of exposures included butchering (20%), contact with raw meat (46.7%), and live animals (33.3%). Malignant pustule was present in upper extremity, both extremities, face, and trunk at frequencies of 11 (73.3%), 2 (13.3%), 1 (6.7%) and 1 (6.7%) respectively. Eight (53.3%) patients presented with fever, 7 (46.7%) had localized oedema and 5 (33.3%) had regional lymphadenopathy. Anthrax was confirmed in 13 (86.7%) cases by demonstration of gram-positive rods. All cases were cured with 2 months oral ciprofloxacin combined with flucoxacillin for 2 weeks.
We present the findings from this series of cases to reinforce the criteria for clinical diagnosis and to urge prompt therapeutic measures to treat cutaneous anthrax successfully to eliminate the unnecessary panic of anthrax.
Cutaneous anthrax; Clinico-demographic profile; Therapeutic response; Bangladesh
Anthrax, caused by Bacillus anthracis, is primarily a zoonotic disease. Being a public health problem also in several developing countries, its early diagnosis is very important in human cases. In this study, we describe the use of an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detection of anti-lethal factor (anti-LF) IgG in human serum samples. A panel of 203 human serum samples consisting of 50 samples from patients with confirmed cutaneous anthrax, 93 samples from healthy controls from areas of India where anthrax is nonendemic, 44 samples from controls from an area of India where anthrax is endemic, and 16 patients with a disease confirmed not to be anthrax were evaluated with an anti-LF ELISA. The combined mean anti-LF ELISA titer for the three control groups was 0.136 ELISA unit (EU), with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.120 to 0.151 EU. The observed sensitivity and specificity of the ELISA were 100% (95% CI, 92.89 to 100%) and 97.39% (95% CI, 93.44 to 99.28%), respectively, at a cutoff value of 0.375 EU, as decided by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. The likelihood ratio was found to be 49.98. The positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), efficiency, and Youden's index (J) for reliability of the assay were 92.5%, 100%, 98.02%, and 0.97, respectively. The false-positive predictive rate and false-negative predictive rate of the assay were 2.61% and 0%. The assay could be a very useful tool for early diagnosis of cutaneous anthrax cases, as antibodies against LF appear much earlier than those against other anthrax toxins in human serum samples.
Prions are known to cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) after accumulation in the central nervous system. There is increasing evidence that prions are also present in body fluids and that prion infection by blood transmission is possible. The low concentration of the proteinaceous agent in body fluids and its long incubation time complicate epidemiologic analysis and estimation of spreading and thus the risk of human infection. This situation is particularly unsatisfactory for food and pharmaceutical industries, given the lack of sensitive tools for monitoring the infectious agent.
We have developed an adsorption matrix, Alicon PrioTrap®, which binds with high affinity and specificity to prion proteins. Thus we were able to identify prion protein (PrPC)–the precursor of prions (PrPSc)–in milk from humans, cows, sheep, and goats. The absolute amount of PrPC differs between the species (from µg/l range in sheep to ng/l range in human milk). PrPC is also found in homogenised and pasteurised off-the-shelf milk, and even ultrahigh temperature treatment only partially diminishes endogenous PrPC concentration.
In view of a recent study showing evidence of prion replication occurring in the mammary gland of scrapie infected sheep suffering from mastitis, the appearance of PrPC in milk implies the possibility that milk of TSE-infected animals serves as source for PrPSc.
Susceptibility to infection by bacterium such as Bacillus anthracis has a genetic basis in mice and may also have a genetic basis in humans. In the limited human cases of inhalation anthrax, studies suggest that not all individuals exposed to anthrax spores were infected, but rather, individuals with underlying lung disease, particularly asthma, sarcoidosis and tuberculosis, might be more susceptible. In this study, we determined if polymorphisms in genes important in innate immunity are associated with increased susceptibility to infectious and non-infectious lung diseases, particularly tuberculosis and sarcoidosis, respectively, and therefore might be a risk factor for inhalation anthrax. Examination of 45 non-synonymous polymorphisms in ten genes: p47phox (NCF1), p67phox (NCF2), p40phox (NCF4), p22phox (CYBA), gp91phox (CYBB), DUOX1, DUOX2, TLR2, TLR9 and alpha 1-antitrypsin (AAT) in a cohort of 95 lung disease individuals and 95 control individuals did not show an association of these polymorphisms with increased susceptibility to lung disease.
Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which results in high mortality in animals and humans. Although some of the mechanisms are already known such as asphyxia, extensive knowledge of molecular pathogenesis of this disease is deficient and remains to be further investigated. Lethal toxin (LT) is a major virulence factor of B. anthracis and a specific inhibitor/protease of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases (MAPKKs). Anthrax LT causes lethality and induces certain anthrax-like symptoms, such as anemia and hypoxia, in experimental mice. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are the downstream pathways of MAPKKs, and are important for erythropoiesis. This prompted us to hypothesize that anemia and hypoxia may in part be exacerbated by erythropoietic dysfunction. As revealed by colony-forming cell assays in this study, LT challenges significantly reduced mouse erythroid progenitor cells. In addition, in a proteolytic activity-dependent manner, LT suppressed cell survival and differentiation of cord blood CD34+-derived erythroblasts in vitro. Suppression of cell numbers and the percentage of erythroblasts in the bone marrow were detected in LT-challenged C57BL/6J mice. In contrast, erythropoiesis was provoked through treatments of erythropoietin, significantly ameliorating the anemia and reducing the mortality of LT-treated mice. These data suggested that suppressed erythropoiesis is part of the pathophysiology of LT-mediated intoxication. Because specific treatments to overcome LT-mediated pathogenesis are still lacking, these efforts may help the development of effective treatments against anthrax.
The recent development of genetic markers for Bacillus anthracis has made it possible to monitor the spread and distribution of this pathogen during and between anthrax outbreaks. In Namibia, anthrax outbreaks occur annually in the Etosha National Park (ENP) and on private game and livestock farms. We genotyped 384 B. anthracis isolates collected between 1983–2010 to identify the possible epidemiological correlations of anthrax outbreaks within and outside the ENP and to analyze genetic relationships between isolates from domestic and wild animals. The isolates came from 20 animal species and from the environment and were genotyped using a 31-marker multi-locus-VNTR-analysis (MLVA) and, in part, by twelve single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and four single nucleotide repeat (SNR) markers. A total of 37 genotypes (GT) were identified by MLVA, belonging to four SNP-groups. All GTs belonged to the A-branch in the cluster- and SNP-analyses. Thirteen GTs were found only outside the ENP, 18 only within the ENP and 6 both inside and outside. Genetic distances between isolates increased with increasing time between isolations. However, genetic distance between isolates at the beginning and end of the study period was relatively small, indicating that while the majority of GTs were only found sporadically, three genetically close GTs, accounting for more than four fifths of all the ENP isolates, appeared dominant throughout the study period. Genetic distances among isolates were significantly greater for isolates from different host species, but this effect was small, suggesting that while species-specific ecological factors may affect exposure processes, transmission cycles in different host species are still highly interrelated. The MLVA data were further used to establish a model of the probable evolution of GTs within the endemic region of the ENP. SNR-analysis was helpful in correlating an isolate with its source but did not elucidate epidemiological relationships.
Anthrax, the disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, is a neglected zoonotic diseases in the context of its impact on poor rural and periurban communities in Africa and other less developed areas of the world. Several regions of Namibia, the Etosha National Park in particular, are well known as being endemic areas for anthrax and, together, provide a good model for the investigation of the genetic diversity of B. anthracis circulating in livestock, wildlife and humans, and surrounding environments. The application of modern molecular strain typing techniques to the analysis of genotypic diversity, as it relates to the spatial and temporal distribution of B. anthracis strains in Namibia, is described in this paper. In particular, we demonstrate how it is possible to distinguish outbreaks of the disease caused by different strains from those caused by the spread of a single strain, to trace an outbreak strain back to its possible origin, and to track the routes of transmission of an outbreak strain within and between animal populations. The data described are relevant to all those concerned with monitoring, surveillance and prevention of the spread of anthrax in endemic areas.
Anthrax caused by Bacillus anthracis in humans is rare. Two recent outbreaks that were intentionally caused occurred among postal employees, politicians, and journalists in the United States. This has caused tremendous fear, and our experience with these "anthrax incidents" has changed our views on the natural history of this disease in people. In this paper, we review the lifecycle and biology of this micro-organism. Anthrax that occurs from a weaponized form of this micro-organism has a specific clinical presentation that requires a suspicion of anthrax exposure to be diagnosed. New methods of testing for anthrax have been developed and may simplify diagnosis in the future. The range of illness caused by B. anthracis from the molecular level to the clinical symptoms is discussed. We also review the diagnostic criteria and differential diagnosis as well as treatment of this condition.
Bacillus anthracis causes three forms of anthrax: inhalational, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous. Anthrax is characterized by both toxemia, which is caused by secretion of immunomodulating toxins (lethal toxin and edema toxin), and septicemia, which is associated with bacterial encapsulation. Here we report that, contrary to the current view of B. anthracis pathogenesis, B. anthracis spores germinate and establish infections at the initial site of inoculation in both inhalational and cutaneous infections without needing to be transported to draining lymph nodes, and that inhaled spores establish initial infection in nasal-associated lymphoid tissues. Furthermore, we found that Peyer's patches in the mouse intestine are the primary site of bacterial growth after intragastric inoculation, thus establishing an animal model of gastrointestinal anthrax. All routes of infection progressed to the draining lymph nodes, spleen, lungs, and ultimately the blood. These discoveries were made possible through the development of a novel dynamic mouse model of B. anthracis infection using bioluminescent non-toxinogenic capsulated bacteria that can be visualized within the mouse in real-time, and demonstrate the value of in vivo imaging in the analysis of B. anthracis infection. Our data imply that previously unrecognized portals of bacterial entry demand more intensive investigation, and will significantly transform the current perception of inhalational, gastrointestinal, and cutaneous B. anthracis pathogenesis.
Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, a bacterial pathogen that forms spores, dormant bacteria that are highly resistant to destruction. Infections initiate from the introduction of spores into airways or damaged skin, or from the consumption of contaminated food. Within the host, spores germinate, then bacteria secrete toxins that cripple the immune response and sheath themselves in a capsule that prevents them from being phagocytosed. We strove to determine in real space and time where and when spores introduced by these three routes of infection germinate and how bacteria subsequently disseminate in a mouse model. This was achieved through the development of light-emitting B. anthracis that could be tracked inside a living mouse. Contrary to current models, our studies indicated that spores germinated in situ in the skin, the intestines, and the nasal passages without needing to be transported to lymph nodes. Furthermore, bacteria disseminate from initial sites of infection in a similar fashion, first to the draining lymph nodes, then the spleen, and finally the lungs and blood. These findings imply that spore interactions with local sites of entry are critical in the development of systemic disease and that disruption of these interactions may offer new methods of anthrax prevention.
These tools may no longer be effective for malaria control in parts of Benin.
The pyrethroid knockdown resistance gene (kdr) has become widespread in Anopheles gambiae in West Africa. A trial to test the continuing efficacy of insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) was undertaken in experimental huts at 2 sites in Benin, 1 where kdr is present at high frequency (Ladji), the other where An. gambiae is susceptible (Malanville). Holes were made in the nets to mimic worn nets. At Malanville, 96% of susceptible An. gambiae were inhibited from blood-feeding, whereas at Ladji feeding was uninhibited by ITNs. The mortality rate of An. gambiae in ITN huts was 98% in Malanville but only 30% at Ladji. The efficacy of IRS was equally compromised. Mosquitoes at Ladji had higher oxidase and esterase activity than a laboratory-susceptible strain, but this fact did not seem to contribute to resistance. Pyrethroid resistance in An. gambiae appears to threaten the future of ITN and IRS in Benin.
Anopheles gambiae; pyrethroid resistance; insecticide treated net; indoor residual spraying; research
Background: Bacillus anthracis may usually cause three forms of anthrax: inhalation, gastrointestinal and cutaneous. The gastrointestinal (GI) anthrax develops after eating contaminated meat. Thus, in this paper were report 5 cases of intestinal anthrax.
Case Presentation: We report a case series of intestinal anthrax, with history of consumption of raw or poorly cooked liver of sheep. One patient was female and 4 were males with the age range between 17 and 26 years. All patients were admitted with abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Examination revealed abdominal distention on the right lower quadrant or diffuse tenderness. Laboratory examination in all patients showed leukocytosis with polymorphonuclear of >80%. Because of the unclear and questionable diagnosis, exploratory laparotomy was performed on several patients, invariably showing an abundant yellowish and thick ascitic fluid, soft hypertrophied mesenteric lymph nodes (3-5 cm) mostly in the ileocecal region, and substantial edema involving one segment of small bowel, cecum or ascending colon. Anthrax was diagnosed on the epidemiologic basis (ingestion history of half cooked liver of sheep) or microbiologic (microscopy with bacterial culture) and pathologic testing (post surgery in four patients or autopsy in one patient). With appropriate treatment, 4 survived and one patient died.
Conclusion: Gastrointestinal anthrax is characterized by rapid onset, fever, ascitis and septicemia. The symptoms can mimic those seen in an acute surgical abdomen. Rapid diagnosis and prompt initiation of antibiotic therapy and then exploratory laparotomy (right hemicolectomy) are keys to survival.
Anthrax; Gastrointestinal; Bacillus anthracis
Cutaneous anthrax is usually easy to diagnose provided the doctor thinks of anthrax. The lesion most likely to be confused with anthrax is accidental vaccinia. Orf lacks the characteristic central eschar. Cutaneous anthrax responds to antibiotic therapy: rare complications are meningitis and hypoxic hypertension. Pulmonary anthrax is highly fatal: its incidence is related to the number and size of anthrax-containing particles which are inhaled. Artificial mists containing lethal doses of anthrax bacilli can be manufactured. Intestinal anthrax may present as gastroenteritis or as ulceration of the intestine with obstruction and perforation.