Anthrax, a highly infectious and fatal disease of mammals and humans, is caused by a relatively large spore-forming rectangular-shaped bacterium called bacillus anthracis.

Anthrax occurs on all continents, causes acute mortality in ruminants, and is a zoonosis. The bacteria produce extremely potent toxins which are responsible for the ill effects, causing a high mortality rate. While most mammals are susceptible, anthrax is typically a disease of ruminants and humans.

It does not typically spread from animal to animal nor from person to person. The bacteria produces spores in contact with oxygen.