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Anthrax is a rare bacterial infection. It can occur in wild and domestic hoofed animals, such as cattle, sheep, and goats. It can also occur in humans when they are exposed to the bacterium. There are 4 forms of anthrax: cutaneous (skin), inhalation (lungs), injectional (skin and soft tissues), and gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines). With intentional exposure, as in a bioterrorist release, breathing in the spores or contact with openings in the skin (cuts, scratches, abrasions, etc.) are the most likely routes of entry into the body. Gastrointestinal anthrax occurs when people eat meat from anthrax-infected animals. Anthrax can be treated successfully with antibiotics and intensive therapies; however, the disease is serious and carries a substantial mortality rate.

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*:Updated July 2014