Be vigilant about animal anthrax vaccine requests

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Veterinarians are cautioned to be alert to suspicious requests for animal anthrax vaccine from persons who may wish to inoculate themselves with the product in a misguided attempt to protect them from bioterrorism. Some extremists have promoted such inappropriate use, particularly following a few recent deaths from pulmonary anthrax. A vaccine for the general human public is not available.

A nonencapsulated, live-culture anthrax spore vaccine is licensed for use in farm animals. The product is labeled for veterinary use, meaning use in animals. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anthrax vaccines intended for use in animals should not be used in humans. The biologic label bears a caution to consult a physician immediately if a person is accidentally injected with the vaccine, ingests it, or is otherwise exposed through the conjunctiva or broken skin.