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Bacteria
Bacillus anthracis
Disease
Cutaneous anthrax
Symptoms
Between 1 and 12 days after exposure, an itchy, sore develops, similar to an insect bite. This sore may blister and form a black ulcer (sore), which is usually painless. It is usually surrounded by significant swelling. A scab often develops, and then dries and falls off within 2 weeks, although complete healing can take longer. Some patients also have painful lymph nodes, fever, headache, and a general ill-feeling (malaise).

Treatment

Cutaneous anthrax is treated with antibiotics, most often doxycycline or ciprofloxacin. Ciprofloxacin has been the antibiotic of choice during a suspected anthrax outbreak. Because anthrax spores may take up to 60 days to grow, the length of treatment is usually 60 days.

Preventive measures

For individuals who have been truly exposed to anthrax (but have no signs and symptoms of the disease), preventive antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, penicillin, or doxycycline may be offered, depending on the particular strain of anthrax.
Cutaneous anthrax is not known to spread from person to person. Household contacts of individuals with cutaneous anthrax do not need antibiotics unless they have also been exposed to the same source of anthrax.
An anthrax vaccine is available to selected military personnel, but not to the general public.

 
 
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