Anthrax Cases Associated with Animal-Hair Shaving Brushes.

TitleAnthrax Cases Associated with Animal-Hair Shaving Brushes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSzablewski CM, Hendricks K, Bower WA, Shadomy SV, Hupert N
JournalEmerg Infect Dis
Date Published2017 05
KeywordsAnimals, Anthrax, Bacillus anthracis, Disease Outbreaks, Hair, History, 19th Century, History, 20th Century, History, 21st Century, Humans, United States

During the First World War, anthrax cases in the United States and England increased greatly and seemed to be associated with use of new shaving brushes. Further investigation revealed that the source material and origin of shaving brushes had changed during the war. Cheap brushes of imported horsehair were being made to look like the preferred badger-hair brushes. Unfortunately, some of these brushes were not effectively disinfected and brought with them a nasty stowaway: Bacillus anthracis. A review of outbreak summaries, surveillance data, and case reports indicated that these cases originated from the use of ineffectively disinfected animal-hair shaving brushes. This historical information is relevant to current public health practice because renewed interest in vintage and animal-hair shaving brushes has been seen in popular culture. This information should help healthcare providers and public health officials answer questions on this topic.

Alternate JournalEmerging Infect. Dis.
PubMed ID28418302
PubMed Central IDPMC5403022
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