Cutaneous manifestations of anthrax in Eastern Anatolia: A review of 39 cases

Irmak H., Buzgan T., Karahocagil M., Sakarya N., Akdeniz H., Caksen H., ...More

ACTA MEDICA OKAYAMA, vol.57, no.5, pp.235-240, 2003 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 57 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Title of Journal : ACTA MEDICA OKAYAMA
  • Page Numbers: pp.235-240


Anthrax is essentially a disease of grazing herbivorous animals. The most common form of the disease is cutaneous anthrax, which accounts for 95% of all cases. We report here 39 cutaneous anthrax cases in humans that were seen in Eastern Anatolia over a six-year period. The clinical presentation was malignant edema in 16 of the cases (41%) and malignant pustule in 23 (59%). A secondary bacterial infection was present in 13 patients (33.3%) in the vicinity of the lesions. The agent was observed using Gram-stained smears in 25 patients (64%), and Bacillus anthracis was isolated from 15 patients (38.5%). All of the patients were treated with penicillin G or penicillin procaine, except one patient who had a penicillin allergy. One patient with cervical edema (2.5%) died as a result of laryngeal edema and sepsis syndrome. In conclusion, we found that the appearance of the skin lesion of cutaneous anthrax may vary, and this fact, combined with the rarity of this disease, which contributes to a general lack of experience among medical personnel, may make diagnosis difficult in nonagricultural settings.