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Korean Journal of Epidemiology 2005;27(1): 12-25.
Anthrax: An Overview.
Hyun Sul Lim, Young Goo Song, Han Sang Yoo, Seong Won Keun, Jong Wan Kim
1Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine,Dongguk University. wisewine@dongguk.ac.kr
2Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, YonseiUniversity.
3Department of Infectious Disease, College of VeterinaryMedicine, Seoul National University.
4Researcher center for Pathogen Control, Korea Center forDisease Control and Prevention.
5Bacteriology & Parasitology Division, National VeterinaryResearch & Quarantine Service.
Human anthrax has been a zoonotic disease affecting those who have close contact with animals or animal products contaminated with the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Now the incidence of anthrax in herbivores and human are rare, but it remains an important health problem in Korea because anthrax is seen as one of the most likely biological weapon. The B. anthracis forms a spore, which is resistant to drought, heat and numerous disinfectants, and the spore can remain viable and infective in the environment for decades. There are three major forms of human disease depending on how infection is contracted, cutaneous, inhalation and ingestion. Inhalational anthrax is the most common form, but the events in the Korea show that gastrointestinal anthrax is the most common. Several cases of anthrax have been reported in Korea. In recent years, 2 cases of bovine anthrax and 5 cases of human anthrax occurred in Changnyeong-gun, 2000, but it haven't occurred any more so far. The most useful microbiological test remains the standard blood culture. Confirmatory diagnostic tests such as polymerase chain reaction can also be used and may help in early diagnosis. Prompt clinical suspicion and rapid administration of effective antimicrobials are essential for treatment of anthrax. Ciprofloxacin or doxycycline should be used for initial intravenous therapy until antimicrobial susceptibility results are known. The best measure to eliminate human anthrax is control in domestic animals by effective surveillance and by immunization of animals in endemic areas. Also, the government must establish countplan for knowledge and rational policies in dealing with potential bioterrorism attacks.
Keywords: Anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; Prevention; Zoonoses
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