Anthrax is an acute infectious disease of animals that can be secondarily transmitted to humans. It is caused by a bacterium ( Bacillus anthracis ) that primarily affects sheep, horses, hogs, cattle, and goats and is almost always fatal in animals. The bacillus produces toxins that kill cells and cause fluid to accumulate in the body's tissues. Anthrax spores, which can survive for decades, are found in the soil, and animals typically contract the disease while grazing. Transmission to humans normally occurs through contact with infected animals but can also occur through eating meat from an infected animal or breathing air laden with the spores of the bacilli. The disease is almost entirely occupational, i.e., restricted to individuals who handle hides of animals (e.g., farmers, butchers, and veterinarians) or sort wool.