The last documented case of anthrax in Washington occurred in 1957. In 2001, processed B. anthracis spores put in letters caused an outbreak of 22 anthrax cases in the eastern United States. In 2009, a woman in Massachusetts developed gastrointestinal anthrax after attending a drumming event using drums with imported animal hides.

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To rapidly detect anthrax-related illness and promptly treat those who are ill
  • To promptly identify the source of infection, including identification of intentional release of anthrax in context of a bioterrorist attack
  • To rapidly implement control measures

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers and Health care facilities: immediately notifiable to local health jurisdiction
  • Laboratories: any Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis only immediately notifiable to local health jurisdiction; submission required – presumptive positive B. anthracis isolate (2 business days). Any other specimens with results indicating B. anthracis infection should also be submitted (see Sections 3 and 4 of the Surveillance and Reporting Guidelines).
  • Veterinarians: animal cases notifiable to Washington State Department of Agriculture (see:
  • Local health jurisdictions: immediately notifiable to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Office of Communicable Disease Epidemiology (CDE).