Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Anthrax is a zoonotic infectious disease caused by B. anthracis. It remains as an important issue in developing countries and it is a potential threat for the world because of its use as a biological weapon. In this study, we evaluated the epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory characteristics of 44 patients with cutaneous anthrax in our region. Materials and methods: The study included 44 cutaneous anthrax patients admitted to our hospital from the Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey between 2005 and 2008. Results: Out of 44 cases, 24 (54.5%) were male and 20 (45.5%) female. The mean age was 41 ± 14.96 years. High risk occupations were farmers (n = 21, 48%) and housewives (n = 19, 43%). The sample consisted of 33 (75%) cutaneous anthrax with pustular lesion and 11 (25%) severe cutaneous anthrax with extensive edema. The most common exposures to sick animal or animal products were cutting of meat (n = 36, 81.8%), slaughtering of animal (n = 34, 77.3%), and direct contact with sick animal (n = 22, 50%). Cutaneous lesions were commonly located on hands (n = 24, 54.5%), arms (18, 40.9%), and fingers (n = 11, 25%). No death occurred and all of them were discharged from hospital. Conclusion: Anthrax is still an important health issue in Turkey and usually presents as a cutaneous anthrax. Cutaneous anthrax should be considered in any patient with a painless ulcer with vesicles, edema, and a history of exposure to animals or animal products. The people under risk should be informed about risky exposures. Vaccination of animals may decrease the number of animal and human anthrax cases.


Bacillus anthracis, anthrax, cutaneous anthrax

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