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North Carolina Immunization Branch

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Anthrax

The Disease

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. Anthrax most commonly occurs in animals (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and others), but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or to tissue from infected animals or when anthrax spores are used as a bioterrorist weapon.

The Vaccine

There is a vaccine to prevent anthrax, but it is not yet available for the general public. Anyone who may be exposed to anthrax, including certain members of the U.S. armed forces, laboratory workers, and workers who may enter or re-enter contaminated areas, may get the vaccine. Also, in the event of an attack using anthrax as a weapon, people exposed would get the vaccine.

Who Should Get Vaccinated?

Anthrax vaccination is recommended for the following groups:

  • People who work directly with anthrax in a laboratory.
  • People who work with imported animal hides or furs in areas where standards are insufficient to prevent exposure to anthrax spores.
  • People who handle potentially infected animal products in high-incidence areas; while incidence is low in the United States, veterinarians who travel to work in other countries where incidence is higher should consider being vaccinated.
  • Military personnel deployed to areas with high risk for exposure to anthrax.

North Carolina Requirements

Anthrax vaccination is not required in North Carolina.

Additional Resources

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