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Inhalation anthrax

  • Alternative Names

    Anthrax - inhalation


    There are usually two stages of inhalation anthrax:

    • Stage one can last from hours to a few days. Symptoms may resemble a cold or the flu, and can include fever, chills, sweating, fatigue, malaise, headache, cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
    • Stage two often develops suddenly. Symptoms include fever, severe shortness of breath, and shock.

    This list of symptoms is based on a relatively small number of people who have had inhalation anthrax. Additional symptoms may occur.

    Signs and tests

    Tests may include:

    • Blood cultures
    • Chest x-ray or CT scan of the chest
    • Sputum cultures

    Initial chest x-rays are likely to show abnormalities such as fluid surrounding the lungs or an abnormally wide space between the lungs.

    Fluid or blood samples may be sent to a special laboratory for more testing, including PCR, immunofluorescence, and immunohistochemistry.

    A spinal tap to analyze the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for infection also may be performed.