Anthrax is a very rare but serious infection caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. There has not been a case in Ireland for more than a century. The disease is found in animals and humans in most countries of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, in several southern European countries, in the Americas, and certain areas of Australia. Fortunately, humans are rarely infected. Anthrax bacteria can exist as spores that can survive in the environment, e.g. in soil, for many years.