Disease & Vaccine Information

Who is at Highest Risk for Suffering Complications from Anthrax? 

Updated August 13, 2022


All forms of anthrax are treatable if caught early. Persons most at risk for complications from anthrax are those who do not receive antibiotics quickly.1

Complications are more frequently seen among persons who develop gastrointestinal, inhalation, or injection anthrax, as these are more severe, and often fatal if not promptly treated.  Without treatment, 85 to 90 percent of inhalation anthrax victims, 25 to 60 percent of gastrointestinal anthrax victims, and 33 percent of injection anthrax victims will die.2

Persons who develop cutaneous anthrax are less likely to suffer complications; however, between five and 20 percent of untreated cutaneous anthrax cases are fatal. With treatment, nearly all infected persons will survive.3


References:

[1] Kivi R. What is Anthrax? Healthline. Feb. 1, 2019.

[2] Sweeney DA, Hicks CW, Cui X et al. Anthrax infectionAm J Respir Crit Care Med. Dec. 2011;184(12):1333‐1341.

[3] Sweeney DA, Hicks CW, Cui X et al. Anthrax infectionAm J Respir Crit Care Med. Dec. 2011;184(12):1333‐1341.

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