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November 29, 1947

ELEPHANT TUSKS: A Source of Human Anthrax

Author Affiliations

Hartford, Conn.

From the Bureau of Industrial Hygiene and the Bureau of Laboratories, Connecticut State Department of Health.

JAMA. 1947;135(13):837-838. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.62890130003010a

A clinically unsuspected case of anthrax with fatal terminaltion is reported because of the unusual source of infection and the methods used for isolation of Bacillus anthracis from animal by-products. A search of the literature and personal communications1 have revealed no reports of human infection in this country traced to elephants or their tusks. This case emphasizes the importance of adequate diagnosis and reporting of human cases with similar exposure in nonendemic areas.


Patient's Illness.—  On Dec. 7, 1946 O. R. C., a white man aged 59 years, noted a small pimple on the right side of his face. On the following day he felt ill, shaved as usual and sought a physician's advice because the lesion had become "worse." Topical soaks and oral chemotherapy were prescribed. He felt better but stayed at home. On the night of December 10 he became progressively ill