What is Cutaneous Anthrax?
Cutaneous anthrax is a type of anthrax infection that affects the skin and tissue around the site of infection. It is caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. It usually enters the body through a cut or scrape on the skin when a person handles infected animals or contaminated animal products. Cutaneous anthrax is the most common and least dangerous form of anthrax, and it can be treated with antibiotics.
What are the signs and symptoms of Cutaneous Anthrax?
The signs and symptoms of cutaneous anthrax are:
- A group of small blisters or bumps that may itch
- Swelling around the sore
- A painless skin sore (ulcer) with a black center that appears after the small blisters or bumps
What are some of the causes of Cutaneous Anthrax?
Some of the causes of cutaneous anthrax are:
- Exposure to infected domestic or wild grazing animals or their products, such as wool, hides, or hair.
- Contact with anthrax spores that enter the body through a cut or scrape on the skin.
- Biological weapons that release anthrax spores in powder or spray form. However, this is very rare and there has not been an anthrax attack in the United States since 2001.
What treatments are available at the dermatologist for Cutaneous Anthrax?
The treatments available at the dermatologist for cutaneous anthrax are mainly antibiotics and antitoxins. Antibiotics are used to kill the anthrax bacteria and prevent them from multiplying and spreading in the body. Antitoxins are used to neutralize the toxins produced by the anthrax bacteria that cause severe illness. Some of the antibiotics that can be used for cutaneous anthrax are ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, and amoxicillin. Some of the antitoxins that can be used for inhalation anthrax are raxibacumab and obiltoxaximab. These medications are given in addition to antibiotics and are available to doctors through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
FAQ About Cutaneous Anthrax
How is cutaneous anthrax diagnosed?
The preferred diagnostic procedure for cutaneous anthrax is staining the ulcer exudate with methylene blue or Giemsa stain, which can differentiate Bacillus anthracis from other bacteria.
How common is cutaneous anthrax?
Cutaneous anthrax is the most common form of anthrax infection, accounting for more than 95% of cases worldwide.
Is cutaneous anthrax contagious?
There is no evidence that cutaneous anthrax is transmitted from person to person, but it is possible that anthrax skin lesions may be contagious through direct contact or through contact with a contaminated object (fomite). Therefore, it is advisable to avoid touching or sharing personal items with someone who has cutaneous anthrax.
What are the risk factors for cutaneous anthrax?
The risk factors for cutaneous anthrax include exposure to infected domestic or wild grazing animals or their products, such as wool, hides, or hair; contact with anthrax spores that enter the body through a cut or scrape on the skin; and biological weapons that release anthrax spores in powder or spray form.
Is there a dermatologist near me in Richmond that offers treatment for Cutaneous Anthrax?
Yes. At our Richmond dermatology office we offer treatment for Cutaneous Anthrax to patients from Richmond and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.