If you work in construction, you may be exposed to anthrax in certain situations. You will need to identify and assess the land of where work is taking place although the risk of getting anthrax is considerably low. Workers may be at more risk in a number of situations, such as:
- Crypt clearances involving opening coffins (could contain remains of someone who has passed due to anthrax).
- Demolition (infected animal hair in historic buildings where animal hair was used in plaster).
- Building on certain types of land
For potentially hazardous work sites, soil and building sampling, including laboratory testing, can help you identify any risk. To control the risk where spores are known to be present, you can take actions such as:
- Wearing disposable PPE (overalls and gloves)
- Basic hygiene, such as regular hand washing and avoiding hand-to-mouth/eye contact
- Take all breaks away from the work area
- Cover all breaks of the skin with waterproof dressings
When working in historic buildings, whether it be refurbishment or demolishing, the chances coming into contact with contaminated animal hair in plaster is high. Sysco Environmental can provide a comprehensive anthrax testing service, which includes a thorough inspection of the building and surrounding land, identification of high risk areas, collecting samples of plaster and soil, laboratory analysis, and recommendation of most appropriate management and remediation actions.
Symptoms of Anthrax
The symptoms of Anthrax depend on the type of infection and can take from 1 day to over a month to appear. All types of infections have the potential to spread throughout the body and cause severe illness which can also lead to death.
Inhalation Anthrax Symptoms
- Fever & Chills
- Shortness of breath
- Tight chest
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach pains
- Extreme fatigue
Cutaneous Anthrax Symptoms
- Itchy blisters
- Painless ulcer with a black centre that appears after the blisters
Gastointestinal Anthrax Symptoms
- Fever & Chills
- Flushing/ red eyes
- Stomach pain
- Swelling of the stomach
- Painful throat (swallowing)
- Nausea/vomiting (bloody vomit)
- Swelling of the neck