Last update Nov. 9, 2023

Woolsorters´ disease ( (inhaled, pulmonary anthrax)


Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.

Anthrax is a zoonotic disease that affects domestic and wild herbivores. It is caused by Bacillus anthracis, whose spores can remain viable in the soil for decades and can infect by inhalation or ingestion of water or vegetation contaminated with spores.  The natural and most frequent infection of humans occurs through skin contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. Inhalation anthrax has a high mortality. Cutaneous anthrax causes an ulcerated pustular sore, contact with which transmits the disease. The first-line treatment is a fluoroquinolone (ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin) or doxycycline. Clindamycin and penicillins are alternatives if the bacillus is shown to be non-resistant. Other treatments to consider are polyclonal anthrax immune globulin or monoclonal anthrax B antitoxins, obiltoxaximab or raxibacumab. (Red Book 2021-2024)

An anthrax-sick mother (hand lesion) did not transmit the disease to her 5-month-old infant (Meaney 2012). There is no evidence of anthrax transmission through breast milk. (CDC 2023 & 2014, Lawrence 2016, p413, Meaney 2014)

Women who give birth while receiving anthrax prophylaxis or treatment do not require mother-infant separation. Anthrax exposure is not considered a contraindication to initiating or continuing breastfeeding or the provision of expressed human milk. Women with active anthrax skin lesions on the breast should avoid contact with the infant and not breastfeed from the affected breast until after 48 hours of appropriate antimicrobial drug treatment.Bacillus anthracis has not been isolated from skin lesions 48 hours after initiation of appropriate antimicrobial drugs; therefore, breastfeeding may be resumed from the affected breast once these criteria are met. (CDC 2023 & 2014, Meaney 2014)

Breastfeeding may continue during the mother's treatment for anthrax as long as she is physically well. Open skin lesions should be carefully covered and infant contact with lesions avoided ; depending on the situation, concurrent prophylaxis for the infant may be appropriate. (Lawrence 2016, p414)

Anthrax vaccine, antibiotics, immunoglobulin, and monoclonal antibodies used in treatment are compatible with breastfeeding.

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Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

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Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Woolsorters´ disease ( (inhaled, pulmonary anthrax) is also known as Anthrax, maternal disease. Here it is a list of alternative known names::


Woolsorters´ disease ( (inhaled, pulmonary anthrax) belongs to this group or family:


  1. CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anthrax. - 2023 Consulted on Oct. 29, 2023 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. CDC. Meaney-Delman D, Zotti ME, Creanga AA, Misegades LK, Wako E, Treadwell TA, et al. Special Considerations for Prophylaxis for and Treatment of Anthrax in Pregnant and Postpartum Women. EID Journal. 2014 Full text (link to original source)
  3. Meaney-Delman D, Zotti ME, Creanga AA, Misegades LK, Wako E, Treadwell TA, Messonnier NE, Jamieson DJ; Workgroup on Anthrax in Pregnant and Postpartum Women.. Special considerations for prophylaxis for and treatment of anthrax in pregnant and postpartum women. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Feb;20(2). Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  4. Meaney-Delman D, Zotti ME, Rasmussen SA, Strasser S, Shadomy S, Turcios-Ruiz RM, Wendel GD Jr, Treadwell TA, Jamieson DJ. Anthrax cases in pregnant and postpartum women: a systematic review. Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Abstract
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Update: Interim recommendations for antimicrobial prophylaxis for children and breastfeeding mothers and treatment of children with anthrax. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2001 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  6. World Health Organization -PCB Turnbull Guidelines for the Surveillance and Control of Anthrax in Human and Animals. 3rd edition. None 1998 Full text (in our servers)

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