Bacillus anthracis

Alternative names

Bacillus anthracis is the species of aerobic spore-forming bactera that causes anthrax disease in humans and animals.


Livestock may become infected by eating or inhaling anthrax spores. Humans, especially farmers and individuals who work in slaughterhouses, may develop cutaneous anthrax through skin exposure to infected animals.

Humans can also develop inhalational anthrax by breathing in infected material. Anthrax infection is usually diagnosed by identifying the bacteria from skin blisters, blood, or other body fluids. The anthrax serology test can determine if a person has been exposed to Bacillus anthracis previously.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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