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Bacillus anthracis

Bacillus anthracis is a Gram-positive, aerobic, endospore-forming rod-shaped bacterium that belongs to the Bacillaceae family.

Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax. The pathogen causes primarily zoonotic infections, which can take several forms:

  • Cutaneous anthrax

  • Pulmonary anthrax

  • Intestinal anthrax

  • As a consequence: organ damage and/or sepsis

Bacillus anthracis is a soil colonizer found worldwide. Herbivorous wild and farm animals can ingest and spread the pathogen.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Low

  • Pulmonology: Low

  • Ear, nose, and throat: Not relevant

  • Urology: Not relevant

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • Low or moderate concern organism

Transmission route

Transmission occurs aerogenically through contaminated dust and primarily through contact with infected animals or animal products such as wool and hides.

Resistance to antibiotics

Decreased antimicrobial susceptibility to beta-lactams is described.

Further readings

  1. Anthrax, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/anthrax/index.html (accessed on 06.29.2021).

  2. Gries O, Ly T: Infektologie – Kompendium humanpathogener Infektionskrankheiten und Erreger, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2019.

  3. Milzbrand (Antrax), Robert Koch-Institut, https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/EpidBull/Merkblaetter/Ratgeber_Anthrax.html (accessed on 06.29.2021).

  4. Muscarella LF. 2002. Anthrax: is there a risk of cross-infection during endoscopy? Gastroenterol. Nurs. 25:46–48.