When America sneezes the world catches a cold. Little wonder then, when the mighty US of A runs scared of Anthrax the rest of the world follows. "But anthrax is not something new and unheard of," says the city-based homeopath Dr.K Mukherjee.

"Though a contagious disease there is no need to panic. Anthrax is not something that has no cure and cannot be prevented," says the doctor giving the lowdownon anthrax.

Anthrax is caused by bacillus anthracis which is deep down in the soild and is brought to the surface mostly by earthworms. The incubation period of anthrax is from a few hours to three days. Usually, there are two forms of the disease: external and internal.

External anthrax appears on parts of body that are uncovered. It begins with a reddish pupule accompanied by itching and burning. Internal anthrax occurs due to ingestion or inhalation of the bacillus. When the initial lesion occurs, there are symptoms of acute poisoning, vomiting, and diarrhoea, etc. Internal anthrax is always fatal.

So what can one do? "As prevention infected animals (the usual carriers of the disease) should be cremated. Utensils and clothes should be washed. Any cut or wound should be treated.

"And as a curative as well as preventive one can take Anthraxinum-200 four pills (morning) for seven consecutive days along with Ipecae-30 four pills in the afternoon for 10 consecutive days," advises Dr. Mukherjee.