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Anthrax is an acute disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. It affects both humans and animals. Most forms of the disease are highly lethal. There are effective vaccines against anthrax, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.Like many other members of the genus Bacillus, Bacillus anthracis can form dormant spores that are able to survive in harsh conditions for extremely long periods of time—even decades or centuries. Such spores can be found on all continents, even Antarctica. When spores are inhaled, ingested, or come into contact with a skin lesion on a host they may reactivate and multiply rapidly.