Definition of Charbon

Charbon: Known also as anthrax, charbon is a serious bacterial infection. It is not primarily a human disease but rather an infection of animals. Cattle, sheep, horses, mules, and some wild animals are highly susceptible. Humans (and swine) are generally resistant to anthrax. Anthrax can take different forms. With the lung form of the disease. People inhale the anthrax spores and, if untreated, are likely to die. An intestinal form is caused by eating meat contaminated with anthrax. But most human anthrax comes from skin contact with animal products. Cutaneous (skin) anthrax was once well known among people who handled infected animals, like farmers, woolsorters, tanners, brushmakers and carpetmakers in the days when the brushes and carpets were animal products. The hallmark of skin anthrax is a carbuncle, a cluster of boils, that ulcerates in an ugly way. Typically this lesion has a hard black center surrounded by bright red inflammation. This accounts for its name, "anthrax", the Greek word for "coal". "Charbon" in French means "coal."


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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