VECTOR-BORNE AND ZOONOTIC DISEASES, vol.9, no.2, pp.131-139, 2009 (SCI-Expanded)
Anthrax is an endemic disease in Turkey, among other countries of the world. The potential of Bacillus anthracis as a bioterrorism agent makes anthrax an important global issue. The aim of the present study was to review human anthrax in Turkey during the last decade. Human anthrax cases recorded from 1990 to 2005 were obtained from the website of the Turkish Ministry of Health, and those recorded between 1995 and 2005 were plotted on a map of Turkey. Papers on anthrax published from Turkey between 1990 and 2007 were collected and reviewed. Most cases were recorded from the central and eastern parts of Turkey. Three of the reports appeared in international journals prior to 1990, 10 reports appeared in the 1990s, and 24 reports appeared after the anthrax events of 2001 in the United States of America. These reports included 926 cases, 426 of which could be reviewed: 413 (96.9%) cases of cutaneous anthrax, 8 (1.9%) cases of gastrointestinal anthrax, and 5 (1.2%) cases of anthrax meningitis. Of all the affected patients, 95.2% had contact with contaminated materials. All human origin isolates were sensitive to penicillin and did not produce beta-lactamase. Most of the patients (88.7%) had received penicillin G. Total mortality was 2.8%. Anthrax is an endemic disease in Turkey, and acquisition of infection is generally through contact with ill or dying animals or animal products. Sheep and cattle are generally involved. Most clinical disease in humans is cutaneous anthrax, although other clinical forms are seen and have a greater mortality. Penicillin remains the drug of choice in treating the disease. Controlling anthrax in humans depends on controlling the infection in animals.