Northern Mongolia hit with anthrax outbreak

Medical authorities in Mongolia reported this week that at least three people have been contaminated with anthrax.

The three people were herders in the Selenge province of northern Mongolia, according to a report.

Medical officials with the country’s national emergency management authority told that areas surrounding the herders’ homes and fields have been quarantined and disinfected. They also reported that seven other local residents suspected of have been infected have been transported to local hospitals.

Thus far, health officials estimate that six cows, two horses, one sheep and one goat have died from the anthrax infection. Additionally, approximately 5,300 livestock in the area have been vaccinated, according to the report.

In related news, officials in the Jalal-Abad region of Kyrgyzstan recently reported that 14 people were hospitalized with anthrax. Six people were treated in the Suak region of Jal-Abad. Seven others in the neighboring Nooken district also underwent treatment at local medical facilities.

Preliminary tests showed that the residents from the Nooken district may have been infected with anthrax from the meat of an ill domestic animal.

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. Infection in humans most often involves the skin, the gastrointestinal tract or the lungs.

Anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep and goats, but humans who come into contact with the infected animals can get sick from anthrax. In the past, the people who were most at risk for anthrax included farm workers, veterinarians, and tannery and wool workers.