|Occupational Health and Safety
Hazardous Substances: Anthrax
What is anthrax?
Anthrax is an infectious disease which is not contagious. In other words, you can be infected if you come into contact with anthrax
spores but you can't catch it from another person.
How can I be exposed?
There are three ways you can be exposed to anthrax. You can breathe in anthrax spores. Anthrax spores can enter your body
through a cut on your skin. You can eat anthrax spores if you eat undercooked meat from an infected animal.
Anthrax spores don't live on people's skin the way contagious bacteria do.
If I am exposed, will I get sick?
You can be exposed to anthrax and not get sick. The most serious form of anthrax is if you breathe it in, but you need to inhale a lot
of anthrax spores (thousands of them) to make you sick. If you are exposed through your skin, anthrax is much less serious.
If you are concerned, go to your doctor
Anthrax is a completely treatable disease. Early treatment with antibiotics, such as penicillin, will successfully prevent serious illness.
I'm fearful that I might be exposed to anthrax
You should report to your supervisor and your union health and safety representative any concerns and they will be investigated.
There have been a number of work refusals at CAW workplaces in the past. All were thoroughly investigated by medical, fire and
police personnel and where no anthrax was found.
Source: CAW Health, Safety & Environment Department