Clinical and experimental dermatology

Cutaneous anthrax in Eastern Turkey: a review of 85 cases.

PMID 18477006


Anthrax is a zoonotic disease diminishing worldwide. Although a very rare disease in developed countries, anthrax is still endemic in developing countries. To evaluate the clinical history and features, treatment and outcome of our patients with anthrax and emphasize the importance of the disease in our region. In this study, the records of all patients diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax admitted to Yüzüncü Yil University Medical Faculty between March 2002 and March 2007, were reviewed, and data on age, gender, occupation, clinical symptoms and findings, location and type of lesions, clinical history, laboratory findings, treatment and outcome were recorded. There were 85 patients [46 (54.1%) male, 39 (45.9%) female; mean age 30.6 years, range 6-72]. All the patients had a history of contact with infected animals or animal products. The infectious agent was found using direct examination of Gram-stained smears from 17 patients (20%), and Bacillus anthracis was isolated from vesicle fluid cultures from 11 patients (12.9%). Diagnosis was based on clinical findings in the remaining 57 patients (67.1%). All patients, except for two with respiratory tract obstruction, made a full recovery. Anthrax continues to be an endemic disease in Turkey, and should be considered in patients with a relevant contact history having a painless ulcer and vesicular skin lesions surrounded by a zone of oedema. Gram staining and simple culture methods are useful aids to diagnosis, but diagnosis may have to be based on clinical grounds in the majority of patients.