When one newspaper photo editor in Florida died of anthrax and another tested positive, people wondered if this was connected to the attacks of September 11. More cases are appearing around the U.S., but the FBI has yet to determine if these are terrorist attacks. However, recent events have brought one question to the minds of many — what is anthrax?
Anthrax is a disease that normally infects livestock killing almost every animal that contracts the disease. Humans that come into contact with these animals or their hides on a regular basis, such as ranchers, are at the greatest risk of getting this disease. This might be why anthrax is also known as the wool sorter's disease.
Anthrax usually enters the body through the skin or by breathing. It cannot be spread from person to person, so it is not contagious. Anthrax is invisible to the naked eye and it has no smell or taste. The early symptoms of this disease are similar to those of the common cold. There is a vaccine for it that involves six shots. If it is caught in early stages, anthrax can be treated with antibiotics.
Anthrax, unlike the common cold, is not something that people catch every day. But if someone wanted to intentionally spread the disease, that's another story.