Can anthrax be spread from person-to-person?
Direct person-to-person spread of anthrax is extremely unlikely to occur. Communicability is not a concern in managing or visiting with patients with inhalational anthrax.
Who should get vaccinated against anthrax?
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommend anthrax vaccination for the following groups:
Persons who work directly with the organism in the laboratory
Persons who work with imported animal hides or furs in areas where standards are insufficient to prevent exposure to anthrax spores.
Persons who handle potentially infected animal products in high-incidence areas. (Incidence is low in the United States, but 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 the organism (as when it is used as a biological warfare weapon).
What is anthrax?
Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores), but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from infected animals.
Why has anthrax become a frightening issue?
Because anthrax is considered to be a potential agent for use in terrorism, the Department of Defense (DoD) has begun mandatory vaccination of all active duty military personnel who might be involved in any possible conflict.
If you were this guy you'd wear a mask too.