Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Bacillus anthracis spore and vegetative stages. Bacillus anthracis is a Gram-positive, encapsulated, spore-forming, zoonotic, rod prokaryote. It most commonly occurs in wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, and other herbivores), but it can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue. In humans it causes the acute infectious disease, anthrax which can lead to septicaemia and death if left untreated. Bacillus anthracis spores can live in the soil for many years. Human anthrax has three major clinical forms: cutaneous, inhalation, and gastrointestinal. Cutaneous anthrax is a result of introduction of the spore through the skin; inhalation anthrax through the respiratory tract; and gastrointestinal anthrax by ingestion. Magnification: x700 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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