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Anthrax

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This essay investigates the literature on the disease, anthrax. It elucidates the causative agent, signs and symptoms of the infection, as well as the incidence. In addition, the essay establishes the diagnostic tests applied in clinics to identify the causative agent of the disease. Further, the essay identifies prognosis, treatment, and preventive measures applicable to anthrax. According to available literature, the disease has a mortality rate of around 20%.

(A nurse appears, quite distraught from the Clinic and walks straight to a doctor.)

Nurse: Hi Doc? What exactly causes the disease, Anthrax?

Doctor: Yes, Nurse. Did you just receive an anthrax patient? (He stammers.) O..ok! The causative agent of anthrax is a bacterium Bacillus anthracis that affects both human beings and animals. These bacteria form spores that enable them to survive adverse  conditions for up to several decades. Eventually, mature spores get inhaled or come into contact with lesions of the skin to cause infection. The infection is generally divided into utaneous, inhaled or gastrointestinal infections. For instance, signs of cutaneous infection range from itchy bumps to painless ulcers. Conversely, inhalation anthrax results in common colds, muscle aches and general malaise which may progress to difficulty in breathing or shock. Further, gastrointestinal anthrax usually presents as loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and abdominal pain which may progress to severe diarrhea. According to research, the disease has a mortality rate of 20% without antibiotic therapy and 1% with it (Decker, 2003). That’s pretty long a description!

Nurse: Not really, Doc. I perfectly understand you? What are the conventional diagnostic tests available for the infection?

Doctor: Well. The diagnostic tests of the disease involve obtaining swabs from infected lesions and culturing to determine the characteristic features of the culture. This is then compared with reference materials that have been collected over time by public health professionals. The incidence of the disease is generally low in the United States and other developed countries. However, anthrax is still prevalent in developing countries that lack proper public health facilities. In case infection is confirmed, patients may be given early treatment with antibiotics like penicillin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin and tetracycline. Anthrax can be prevented by avoiding contact with infected persons or animals. Nevertheless, there is currently a vaccine available for individuals working in high risk areas. Besides, prognosis of anthrax is carried out and based on medical data that have  been collected by doctors over several years (Cohn,1996). I bet you now have a basic  idea about anthrax?

Nurse: Yes, I do. I haven’t encountered such a case in all my practice. In fact, that’s why I can’t remember much theory from Medical School. However, your explanation gave quite an insight. Thank you.

Doctor: Welcome, Nurse. (A bell rings in Ward 2, and the nurse rushes to attend.)

In conclusion, anthrax is a lethal disease, especially inhaled type of anthrax infection. The incidence of the disease in the United States is quite insignificant due to proper public health policies. However, the disease is still prevalent in the third world where it causes several deaths every year.

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