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Anthrax is a disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which can affect both humans and animals. Humans get the disease after coming into contact with anthrax spores by breathing them in, consuming food or water contaminated with them or getting spores into a cut or scrape in the skin. Anthrax can have different symptoms depending on how the exposure occurred, with the most common forms being cutaneous, intestinal and inhalation. Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics.

Anthrax can be found in soil and is most common in agricultural regions in Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, central and southwestern Asia, southern and eastern Europe and the Caribbean. In the United States, the areas of highest risk are rural and semi-rural regions of western states. While the risk of anthrax is extremely low in Indiana, cases may occur in people or animals who have traveled to higher-risk areas. Certain people are at greater risk of exposure, such as international travelers, laboratory workers, veterinarians, livestock producers and people who handle animal products.

For more information about anthrax, please visit the CDC Anthrax webpage.

Information for Providers

For anthrax diagnosis, treatment and testing information, click here.

Page last updated: March 3, 2020

Page last reviewed: March 3, 2020