Anthrax is a bacterial infection caused by Bacillus anthracis. Morbidity and mortality following infection are high and rapid treatment following exposure is therefore required. When clinically indicated, the pregnant patient should be treated as for the non-pregnant patient. Ciprofloxacin is the first-line treatment for anthrax. Amoxicillin may also be used for treatment or prophylaxis but only if the specific strain is known to be penicillin-sensitive.
Published human data regarding maternal anthrax infection are limited to 18 case reports of infection in the latter half of pregnancy. Preterm delivery following maternal anthrax infection was reported in three of the cases even after successful treatment of the maternal infection. Intrauterine death preceded maternal death in three cases.
There are no published reports of fetal outcome following anthrax infection in the first trimester of pregnancy and an evidence-based assessment of malformation risk following exposure during this period is thus not possible. The need for additional fetal monitoring should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Discussion with UKTIS is recommended in all cases.
This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to NHS health care professionals who are logged in.
If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.
If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.