An historical, sociocultural view and in the fiction literature of Bacillus anthracis cases by shaving brushes
EMMA VÁZQUEZ-ESPINOSA, CLAUDIO LAGANÀ, FERNANDO VAZQUEZ
In the period from 1915 to 1924 anthrax outbreaks were described by Bacillus anthracis due to the contamination of razor brushes that reached Europe and the United States from areas such as Japan, China or Russia. The brushes were made with badger hair, and then, to reduce the cost with horse hair and other animals. World War I supoosed that the traffics of these brushes, that passed through Europe, changed and the processes of sterilization of the same were deficient giving rise to these outbreaks, that in a percentage of 20% produced the death of the users. The impact of the fashion of wearing a beard, the presence of these cases in the press, in the society of that period, and literature are studied through the work of Agatha Christie who wrote, in 1936, the Hercules Poirot´s novel Cards on the table, and where she describes the murder of one of the characters with the shaving brush contaminated with Bacillus anthracis spores.
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