Biothrax (anthrax vaccine)

Anthrax is a disease most commonly found in animals such as goats, sheep, cattle, deer, antelope, and other herbivores. Humans can also contract this disease if they exposed to infected animals or other source of anthrax. Anthrax causes infection through spore-forming bacteria.

Humans can become infected with anthrax through cuts in the skin or wound when they come in contact with products from infected animals. Infection can also occur if the person breathes in the anthrax spores, or eats undercooked contaminated meat. If it is occurred through the lungs, and spread to the rest of the body, it can be fatal.

Because it most commonly occurs it animals, anthrax thrives in areas that lack good veterinary prevention programs such Africa, Asia Central and South America.

An anthrax vaccine exists to help people who have been exposed to the bacteria through the lungs or skin. The vaccine does not contain any dead forms of the bacteria, but rather an antigen protein that causes you body to develop immunity to the bacteria. These vaccines will not work if the person is already infected with anthrax.

Side effects of anthrax vaccine

If you have an allergic reaction to the first dose, you should not receive a booster shot. Like any medicine this vaccines can cause side effects. Becoming infected with anthrax is far more serious than the side effects though.

If you are having on of the following symptoms you should seek emergency medical care: hives, difficulty breather, swelling of the tongue, face, lips or throat.

Serious side effects include: severe swelling spreading to other parts of your arm; fever, chills, body aches, nausea, flu symptoms; pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding; confusion, changes in mood or behavior; seizure (convulsions); blistering, redness, and swelling or warmth of the skin; weakness, numbness or tingly feeling in your feet spreading upward; problems with vision, hearing, speech, swallowing, or bladder and bowel functions; severe lower back pain; or low heart rate, trouble breathing, weak pulse, or feeling like you might pass out.

Less severe side effects include: mild redness, warmth, itching, or tenderness where the shot was given; low fever; feeling tired or weak; headache, dizziness; mild pain or stiffness in the injected arm; joint or muscle pain; swelling in your hands or feet; or mild skin rash.

If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this vaccine, you should not receive it again. If anthrax has been contracted through the skin you should also not receive it.

You should tell you doctor the following things before receiving the vaccine:

1. if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a vaccine

2. if you have a weak immune system

3. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding

4. If you are allergic to latex rubber

5. If you are receiving chemotherapy

6. If you have a history of Guillan-Barre syndrome

7. Other vaccines you have recently received

8. If you have received recent treatments that weaken the immune system

The vaccine is given as an injection under the skin. It is given in a series of 6 shots. The first 3 shots are given 2 weeks apart. The following three 3 shots are given 6, 12, and 18 months after the first shot.

This vaccine is most commonly given to: people who handle anthrax bacteria in a laboratory or other work setting; people who handle animal hides or furs imported from areas where anthrax is common; people who handle meat or other animal products in areas where anthrax is common; veterinarians who travel to countries where anthrax is common; and military personnel at risk of exposure through potential biological warfare when anthrax may be used as a weapon.

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