Anthrax and its Prevention


    ANTHRAX is an acute, infective disease of man and animals and is caused by the anthrax bacillus, which becomes disseminated throughout the body so that every part is infectious. The many animal products used in commerce may thus be a grave source of danger if they emanate from animals which have succumbed to the disease. Although in this country anthrax is not to be regarded as a frequent cause of death, it is nevertheless of great importance on account of the increase which has taken place, and especially in virtue of the very large amount of material imported from countries where anthrax is rife. In order to prevent the disease in dangerous trades working with possibly infected animal material it would, at first sight, appear to be a simple thing to disinfect the infected material. In practice, however, this is found to be exceedingly difficult on account of the truly enormous powers of resistance of the spore of the anthrax bacillus, which is among; the most remarkable of living things. A method to be efficient and practicable (1) must aim at the complete destruction of the infectivity of the material; (2) must not damage the material; (3) must be practicable on a large commercial scale; and (4) its cost must be reasonable.

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    Anthrax and its Prevention. Nature 101, 347–348 (1918).

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