spores enter the respiratory system when they are inhaled through the nose or
mouth. Larger spores may settle in the windpipe (trachea). The immune system
reacts by trying to destroy the spores. Some spores may escape and travel to
the lymph nodes located in the chest. Smaller spores travel farther down the
respiratory tract and invade tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. There, the
spores germinate and cause an active bacterial infection.
anthrax bacteria start multiplying in 1 to 60 days. After the bacteria
infect chest tissue, the disease rapidly progresses. Toxins from the bacteria
enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing severe damage to
tissue, lungs, and other organs. The infection is difficult to treat after it
enters the bloodstream.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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