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Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, which is usually seen in herbivores, rarely in humans. If left untreated, infection can be fatal. Anthrax is an attractive biological weapon because of the relative ease with which it can be grown, the lethality of the inhaled form of the disease, and the hardiness of its spores.

Anthrax is the oldest known animal disease, familiar to farmers from the ancient Greeks to today. Few countries are completely free of anthrax. The United States has sporadic outbreaks among livestock and wild animals. The disease is controlled in animals by vaccination. Louis Pasteur developed the vaccine in 1881.

Herbivores take in anthrax spores from the soil as they graze. The spores then germinate into bacteria and multiply within the animal. In the final stages of the disease, bacteria released from the body in blood and other ...

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