Most anthrax infections occur through a cut on the skin. About 2,000 cases are reported annually.
Skin infections begin as an itchy bump which over 2-6 days develops into a boil and then a depressed black skin lesion.
After the spores germinate they release toxins which damage the skin tissues. The disease can spread throughout the body, but deaths are rare. With treatment mortality is less than 1%.
The antibiotic being used to treat the current cases in the US is ciprofloxacin, known in the UK as ciproxin.