Extraordinary Case Report: Cutaneous Anthrax

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Anthrax is a very rare disease in the United Kingdom. It is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Humans become infected when they come into contact with infected animals or their products. Cutaneous anthrax, the most common form of the disease, accounts for 95% of cases, and the disease usually developing on exposed sites. We present a patient who developed cutaneous disease after exposure to untreated leather. Owing to the initial clinical information, the biopsy specimen was misinterpreted as representing a severe acute insect bite reaction. The subsequent involvement by the Department of Microbiology established the correct diagnosis. Because today the disease is so rare in Europe and the United States, sporadic cases of anthrax are easily overlooked as the diagnosis often is not considered. Cutaneous anthrax should be considered in any patient with a painless ulcer with vesicles, edema, and a history of exposure to animals or animal products.

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