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Anthrax is a serious disease that can affect both animals and humans. It is caused by a bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. People can contract anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat or hides. In its most common form, anthrax is a skin disease that causes skin ulcers, fever and fatigue. Up to 20% of these cases are fatal if untreated. When B. Anthracis is inhaled, as with a biological weapon, it is much more serious (over 99% fatal if untreated).
Anthrax can be inhaled or it can penetrate the body through breaks in the skin and through the gastrointestinal track. The spores are incredibly hardy and remain dormant until they find a suitable place to proliferate and reproduce.
Symptoms may include sore throat, mild fever and muscle aches. Within several days these symptoms are followed by severe breathing problems, shock, and often meningitis. Once symptoms appear, this form of anthrax is almost always fatal, despite treatment with antibiotics.
Passport Health is one of very few commercial vendors of the Anthrax immunization and it is available at all Passport Health clinic locations. Individuals who are at risk, (e.g. government or civilian contractors and first responders) should consider the anthrax vaccine.
The anthrax vaccine requires multiple booster shots in order to become and stay effective. The CDC recommends anthrax booster shots at required at: 4 weeks, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and then an annually. This timeline does change in cases of unvaccinated individuals being exposed to anthrax.
So, if you are asking yourself, "What travel shots and vaccinations do I need?" or "Where do I get the Anthrax Vaccine?" schedule an appointment with your local Passport Health travel medicine clinic.
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