Anthrax is a disease of domestic animals which become infected by inhaling or ingesting spores of Bacillus anthracis. In man anthrax is an occupational disease of farmers, butchers, and dealers in hides, hair, wool, and bone meal from endemic areas. Now a days there is fear and possibility of virulent anthrax spores being used as a means of bio-terrorism.
Anthrax – CAUSE
Causative organism of anthrax is Bacillus anthracis, a rod-shaped bacterium, with a width of 1.0–1.2 µm and a length of 3–5 µm.
Anthrax – MODE OF INFECTION
Anthrax virus may affect skin by local contact, respiratory tract by inhalation or gastro-intestinal tract by ingestion. Any organ or site which is affected develops characteristics fluid filled lesions surrounded by swelling.
Anthrax – SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
(a) Skin infection – invasion of bacterial spore underneath the skin is the commonest mode of spread. Symptoms exhibit after 3-5 days of infection.
A skin lesion begins as an itching papule which enlarges and forms a fluid filled lesion surrounded by gross swelling. The lesion is relatively painless and accompanied by slight enlargement of regional lymph nodes. The lesion dries to form a thick black aschar surrounded by small blisters.
In endemic areas where patients have immunity against anthrax may exhibit only slight constitutional symptoms and little edema but in the non-immune person high fever, toxemia and fatal septicemia may develop.
(b) Ingestion – When infected meat is eaten an ulcer with surrounding inflammation may develop in the throat. But often the infection causes a severe, fatal gastric troubles as severe pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, loose stools with blood.
(c) Inhalation – Spread through inhalation is not very common except in people working with animal hide and dander. But this is the way which is potentially most harmful and is the only way in which mass infection can be caused by terrorists. Such infection can lead to inflammation of larynx or a virulent hemorrhagic bronchopneumonia (blood and mucus get accumulated in tiny air sacs of lungs lead to difficulty in breathing) (wool-sorter’s disease)
(d) Occasionally anthrax may present as meningitis ( inflammation of covering of brain and spinal cord).
Anthrax – HOW DIAGNOSIS IS DONE?
The Bacillus anthracis can be shown in –
- A smear from the edge of a skin lesion
- laryngeal smear
- Sputa (in pulmonary infection)
- Stool (in gastroenteritis)
- CSF (in meningitis case)
Anthrax – CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT
Antibiotics like penicillin, erythromycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, streptomycin etc are used.
Anthrax – HOMEOPATHY TREATMENT & HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat anthrax symptoms but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several medicines are available for anthrax symptoms treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensation, modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are some specific homeopathic remedies which have remarkable action over anthrax symptoms:
Homeopathy offers many medicines which may help in anthrax. These include medicines like
- Carbo veg
- Secale cor
- Muriatic acid
- Rhus tox
- This nosode has proven a great remedy in epidemic spleen diseases of domestic animals, and in septic inflammation, carbuncles and malignant ulcers.
- boils and boil-like eruptions, acne.
- Terrible burning.
- Haemorrhages, black, thick, tar-like, rapidly decomposing, from any orifice.
- Ulceration, sloughing and intolerable burning.
- Black and blue blisters.
- Carbuncles, with burning, stinging pain
- Swelling or puffing up of various parts, oedema, red rosy hue. Stinging pains, soreness.
- Extreme sensitiveness to touch and general soreness is marked.
- Cannot concentrate mind when attempting to read or study.
- Vomiting of food.
- Craving for milk
- Septic states when the system is thoroughly poisoned and the prostration is profound.
- Boils, carbuncles, ulcers, with bluish, purple surroundings.
- Dark blisters. Bed-sores, with black edges.
- Blue-black swellings.
- Hot perspiration, bluish, purplish appearance.
- Pyrogen is the great remedy for septic states, with intense restlessness.
- All discharges are horribly offensive-menstrual, lochial, diarrhoea, vomit, sweat, breath, etc.
- Great pain and violent burning in abscesses.
- Great debility in the morning
- Bursting headache with restlessness.
- A toxaemic medicine, septic conditions.
- Adapted to the most severe types of inflammation and pain, early and persistent prostration.
- Purplish hue and burning, stinging pains.
- Abscesses, where pain and inflammation predominate.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
Once a person is infected there is little else one can do except to take treatment. But in endemic areas, those who work with animals and their products, need to take some measures like:
- Do not sleep on animal hide
- Do not eat meat of an animal which has died suddenly
- Do not take any sore throat or cough lightly.
Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th ed, McGraw-Hill
Davidson’s Principles and Practise of Medicine, 17th ed, 1996, Churchill Livingstone
New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory, William Boericke, 2nd revised ed., 2001, B. Jain
Homeopathic Treatment requires strict individualization. Please do not take any medicine without consulting your physician/homeopath.