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Is Anthrax Contagious?

Updated December 29, 2023

No, anthrax is not contagious. An anthrax infection requires a person to come into direct contact with the bacteria through a cut in the skin, inhaling the spores into the lungs, or swallowing the spores, such as by eating contaminated meat. It is possible to develop anthrax by coming into contact with the skin lesions of someone who is infected with anthrax; however, it is a rare occurrence. 

The most common way to get anthrax is through exposure to an infected animal or animal waste and by-products. Veterinarians, farmers, or researchers working with animals are at higher risk, as are those working in industries that handle animal by-products like meat and animal skins. The cutaneous (skin) form of anthrax, the most common form, has a very low death rate with appropriate antibiotic therapy after exposure.        

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC “Quick Facts” is not a substitute for becoming fully informed about anthrax and the anthrax vaccine. NVIC recommends consumers read comprehensive information NVIC provides on anthrax, the vaccine manufacturer product information inserts, and speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child.



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