Anthrax: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
- At the site of penetration of the pathogen a small red spot is formed as from an insect bite.Further in a short time this spot is transformed into a pimple, a vial, a carbuncle, after the opening of which remains an ulcer with a black scab.In parallel, children may appear near the primary carbuncle.This entire process is accompanied by severe itching, reddening of surrounding tissues and loss of their sensitivity.
- Regional lymphadenitis and lymphangitis( inflammation of lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels, respectively).
- General intoxication.
If the patient with a cutaneous form of the disease is provided with competent medical assistance, the generalization of the infection process does not occur and the person's condition improves after 10-14 days, and a scar is formed on the site of the ulcer within a month.If the infection, in spite of all medical measures, spreads lymphogenously or hematogenously into the body, a generalized form of anthrax develops. It is characterized by the following manifestations:
- Uninterrupted fever, chills.
- Severe intoxication.A sharp drop in blood pressure.
In pulmonary form of anthrax, the following symptoms develop in a person:
- The above signs of generalized form of the disease.
- Cough with jelly-like bloody sputum.
- Chest pain.
This variant of the disease progression often ends with the patient's death, even with modern and timely treatment.
With the penetration of the causative agent of anthrax into the gastrointestinal tract, in addition to general intoxication, hypotension and fever, a person appears:
- A sharp cutting pain in the abdomen.
- Blood vomiting.
- Diarrhea with an admixture of blood.
In the intestine the anthrax is the same as on the skin, that is, inflammation and ulcers are formed, therefore, if the patient does not provide medical care, the integrity of the intestinal wall is violated very quickly and peritonitis develops.
In addition, during the generalization of the infectious process, inflammatory foci in the central nervous system may appear, which entails the occurrence of such serious complications as cerebral edema, meningoencephalitis.Also, anthrax is often complicated in humans by an infectious-toxic shock, pulmonary edema and other deadly conditions.
Diagnosis of anthrax in humans
To diagnose a physician evaluates various data:
- An epidemic history, that is, whether the patient had contact with animals or raw materials obtained from them, whether the person used suspicious foods, For example, meat forcibly slaughtered sick cattle, etc.
- Features of the clinical picture( whether there are signs characteristic of anthrax).
- The results of laboratory tests: bacterioscopy and seeding on the nutrient media of the material taken from the patient;Serological tests;Skin-allergic tests with toxin pathogens, and the like.
All patients with anthrax are necessarily hospitalized in an infectious inpatient hospital where they undergo a comprehensive treatment, including:
- Bed rest and diet.
- Therapy directed against the causative agent of the disease.Prescribe antibiotics penicillin series and fluoroquinolones.The duration of such therapy is 7-14 days.
- Introduction of anti-STI immunoglobulin( ie, ready-made antibodies).
- Local treatment( with cutaneous form).Apply only antiseptics and impose sterile dressings, surgical treatment is not carried out because of the danger of spreading the infection throughout the body.
- Detoxification therapy.In severe cases, prednisolone is added to the injected detoxification solutions.
When complications develop( infectious-toxic shock, cerebral edema, lungs, etc.), patients are transferred to the intensive care unit.
The discharge of patients is carried out only after complete clinical recovery, negative results of a two-time bacteriological study of biological materials, and with a cutaneous form of the disease - complete rejection of the scab and scar formation.
Immunity after anthrax is formed, but it does not persist for life, therefore, repeated infection of a person with this ailment is quite possible.
In view of the fact that anthrax is an extremely serious and dangerous disease for humans, the main source of which are animals, it is the veterinary service that detects and eliminates foci of the infection( identify sick animals and destroy dead bodies, plannedPlant livestock in disadvantaged areas, etc.).In addition, there is control over meat distributed in the markets and in stores.
People who can become infected with anthrax during their professional activities are obliged to immunize with dry live anthrax vaccine( twice vaccination and annual revaccination). In particular, doctors recommend the following categories of population to be vaccinated:
- To workers of the bakeries and meat processing plants.
- Doctors and staff of veterinary clinics.
- Employees of enterprises that process leather and animal wool.
- Employees of laboratories involved in the diagnosis and study of anthrax.
To prevent the development of the disease in a person who has been in contact with a contagious animal, an emergency prophylaxis with antibiotics and immunoglobulins is carried out, and an observation is established for 14 days.
In addition to the listed measures, in order to prevent infection with anthrax, it is not recommended to buy meat from individuals who do not have a veterinary certificate on the quality of products( for example, in natural markets).
Zubkova Olga Sergeevna, medical reviewer, epidemiologist doctor