Rare Primary Care News

Disease Profile


Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Ragpicker's disease; Wool sorter's disease; Black Baine;


Bacterial infections


Anthrax is an infection caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The severity of the condition, the associated signs and symptoms and the prognosis vary depending on which part of the body is involved (see below). Antibiotics can be used to treat all forms of anthrax. Antitoxin medications may also be used to treat some forms of the condition.[1][2]

Cutaneous (skin) anthrax
occurs when the infection enters the body through a cut or sore on the skin. It is the most common type of anthrax and generally the least serious. Affected people may experience a group of small, itchy bumps; swelling around a sore; and/or a painless ulcer with a black center. These skin abnormalities are generally found on the face, neck, arms, or hands. With appropriate treatment, cutaneous anthrax is seldom fatal.[2][3]

Gastrointestinal anthrax is caused by eating undercooked meat from an infected animal. Signs and symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, loss of appetite, fever, and a sore throat.[2][3]

Pulmonary (lung) anthrax occurs when anthrax spores are inhaled. It is the most deadly form of the condition. Early signs include flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, nausea, and coughing up blood. As the condition advances, affected people may develop high fever, difficulty breathing, shock, and meningitis. Even with treatment, pulmonary anthrax may be fatal.[2][3]

Injection anthrax is spread by injecting illegal drugs. Signs and symptoms of this form of anthrax include redness and swelling at the sight of the infection. The condition may progress to shock, multiple organ failure and meningitis.[2][3]


FDA-Approved Treatments

The medication(s) listed below have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as orphan products for treatment of this condition. Learn more orphan products.

  • Raxibacumab(Brand name: Abthrax) Manufactured by Human Genome Sciences, Inc.
    FDA-approved indication: Treatment of inhalation anthrax due to Bacillus anthracis in combination with appropriate antibacterial drugs, and for prophylaxis of inhalation anthrax when alternative therapies are not available or are not appropriate.
    National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
  • obiltoxaximab(Brand name: Anthim) Manufactured by Elusys Therapeutics, Inc.
    FDA-approved indication: Treatment of adult and pediatric patients with inhalational anthrax due to Bacillus anthracis in combination with appropriate antibacterial drugs and for prophylaxis of inhalational anthrax when alternative therapies are not available or are not appropriate.
    National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal
  • anthrax immune globulin (human)(Brand name: Anthrasil) Manufactured by Emergent Biosolutions
    FDA-approved indication: Treatment of inhalational anthrax in adult and pediatric patients in combination with appropriate antibacterial drugs
    National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

Where to Start

  • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
  • Mayo Clinic has an information page on Anthrax.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

In-Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Anthrax. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


  1. Anthrax. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. January 2017; https://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/index.html.
  2. Burke A Cunha, MD. Anthrax. Medscape Reference. March 2016; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/212127-overview.
  3. Anthrax. Mayo Clinic. July 2015; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anthrax/basics/definition/con-20022705.