Inhalation Anthrax

graphic of human breathing spores through nose and into lungs

When a person breathes in anthrax spores, they can develop inhalation anthrax. People who work in places such as wool mills, slaughterhouses, and tanneries may breathe in the spores when working with infected animals or contaminated animal products from infected animals. Inhalation anthrax starts primarily in the lymph nodes in the chest before spreading throughout the rest of the body, ultimately causing severe breathing problems and shock.

Inhalation anthrax is considered to be the most deadly form of anthrax. Infection usually develops within a week after exposure, but it can take up to 2 months. Without treatment, only about 10 – 15% of patients with inhalation anthrax survive. However, with aggressive treatment, about 55% of patients survive.