Published On: Mon, Sep 3rd, 2012

Anthrax outbreaks reported in Siberia and Kyrgyzstan

An outbreak of the bacterial disease, anthrax, in the Siberian village of Druzhba has left one person dead and 10 others hospitalized as the Russian government declared a state of emergency in the area in a bid to prevent an epidemic according to a Bloomberg News report.

Bacillus anthracis

Bacillus anthracis Image/CIA

It is reported that the deceased man became infected after handling the carcass of a sick cow. The others infected are being treated in a hospital in the nearby city of Bilsk.

According to Russia’s chief disease control official Dr Gennady Onishchenko, the village is in quarantine and all hoofed livestock in it have already received vaccination. People were also vaccinated.

The anthrax outbreak is “under control and localized,” Deputy Governor Daniil Bessarabov said in the statement.

In the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, health officials say  five people had tested positive for anthrax.

The five were among nine people who had been hospitalized in the central Asian country for anthrax-like symptoms in the past month, a Kyrgyz Health Ministry spokesman said.

As in Siberia, quarantine measures and people and livestock have been vaccinated against anthrax.

Anthrax is an infectious disease due to a type of bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. Infection in humans most often involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or lungs.

PubMed Health says anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep, cattle, and goats, but humans who come into contact with infected animals can get sick from anthrax, too.

There are three types of anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness:

Cutaneous anthrax: this occurs when the spore (or possibly the bacterium) enters a cut or abrasion on the skin. It starts out as a raised bump that looks like an insect bite. It then develops into a blackened lesion called an eschar that may form a scab. Lymph glands in the area may swell plus edema may be present. This form of anthrax responds well to antibiotics. If untreated, deaths can occur if the infection goes systemic. 95% of cases of anthrax are cutaneous. The CDC states there are 1-2 cases annually in the US.

Gastrointestinal anthrax: this follows the ingestion of contaminated meats. It is characterized by stomach pain, severe bloody diarrhea, bloody vomit and an inflammation of the intestinal tract. Up to half of those infected will perish from this form of disease. This is a very rare type of anthrax.

Inhalation anthrax: also known as “woolsorter’s disease”, happens due to inhaling the spores. After incubating for less than a week; fever, aches, vomiting are early symptoms. After the initial symptoms, ashort period of improvement (less than a day) may occur. It then progresses to severe respiratory distress. Shock and death soon follow. Later stages of this infection have nearly a 100% chance of death even withantibiotics.

Most people with anthrax are treated with antibiotics. Several antibiotics are effective, including penicillin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin.



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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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