Anthrax: Odd name for a germ

Why isn’t this called anthraxicocous, or something?

  • Jinx

Anthrax is the name of the disease. The name of the bacteria that causes it is Bacillus anthracis.

And anthrax is named from one of its symptoms:

Etymology: Middle English antrax carbuncle, from Latin anthrax, from Greek, coal, carbuncle

(a carbuncle is a skin lesion like a boil)

The disease (and the agent that causes it) was described in ancient times as “anthrax”, which is Greek for coal, because of the black color of the necrotic skin lesions caused by the cutaneous form of the disease.

Antrax has always sounded more like the name of a nerve gas or criminal orgianization than a disease. Heck, I thought it WAS a nerve gas until recently.

Ah… now I finally understand why the French call the disease “charbon”…

What, it wasn’t named after the legendary Castle Anthrax?