Anthrax tests are carried out to determine the presence of the antrax bacteria in the body. Anthrax is an infectious disease that has life threatening consequences and is known to more commonly affect animals, such as goats and sheep. The condition can be easily passed on to humans when the individual comes in contact with the infected animal or its products. Because of the fact that anthrax is a very dangerous infection, it has become a weapon of choice in bio terrorism recently. The main strain of bacteria that causes anthrax is known as bacilius anthracis and is allowed to enter the human body either by touch or by smell. While the ingestion of anthrax can have rather serious consequences, the inhalation of the same is known to have a much more serious effect.
Anthrax also has an incubation period where the infection settles in your system for about one to five days before manifesting into the dangerous condition that it is. It is essential that anthrax poisoning be treated immediately as in about 20% of those cases left untreated, the infection may spread all over the body. The symptoms depend largely on the type of condition developed. Certain factors will place a few individuals at a higher risk than others when it comes to developing anthrax. Some of these factors include working or living in an area of high risk for anthrax, handling animal fur and skin on a regular basis as well as working in felids like veterinary medicine where your chances of being exposed to the virus is significantly increased. Because of the very serious consequences of the condition, testing for anthrax is a very important part of the treatment process.
Anthrax testing can be done with the help of a number of medical procedures including skin testing, a chest x-ray, endoscopy, lumbar puncture or spinal tap, and even regular blood tests. Each of these options come with their own set of positives and negatives. Skin testing is probably the simplest of them all and only requires a small skin biopsy on which to run the test. The chest x-ray or CT scan will also help diagnose the inhalation of anthrax. Intestinal anthrax will be best diagnosed with the help of an endoscopy or stool sample while a lumbar puncture will help diagnose anthrax meningitis. The spinal tap procedure needs to be conducted by a very experienced surgeon as the level of accuracy required is tremendous. Any small mismatch while conducting this procedure, could lead to paralyzing the patient.