1A serious bacterial disease of sheep and cattle, causing acute and often fatal septicaemia, and also transmissible to humans.
The disease is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, and in humans is most often marked by severe skin ulceration (malignant pustule) or serious lung disease (wool-sorters' disease).‘An early suspicion that anthrax might have been the cause of the infection has been discounted.’
- ‘In New York five people are confirmed to have been exposed to the bacterium, of whom two have developed anthrax.’
- ‘Any doctor could learn as much about anthrax through reading a newspaper as they could through reading a medical text.’
- ‘The new test can identify the presence of anthrax in less than one hour instead of days.’
- ‘First of all, smallpox, anthrax, and the like are hard to spread effectively.’
- 1.1Spores or cells of the bacterium that causes anthrax.
Late Middle English Latin, ‘carbuncle’ (the earliest sense in English), from Greek anthrax, anthrak- ‘coal, carbuncle’, with reference to the skin ulceration in humans.