Indian villages facing anthrax outbreak

Health officials in India have reported that approximately 26 people in four villages in Orissa’s Sundargarh district have been infected with anthrax.

S.N. Jotishi, head of the Hatibari Community Health Centre, told that a medical team from the district headquarters hospital in Sundargarh has been camped out in affected villages while treating patients.

Jotishi reported that villagers in Dukatoli, Mangratoli, Kusumtoli and Anthugada, where the anthrax disease was initially discovered, were given door-to-door medical treatment. He also said that family members of anthrax patients were treated as a preventative measure.

Bikrant Kindo, the chief district medical officer, visited the area to monitor the situation, Jotishi told

The rise in anthrax cases began in early June. At that time, approximately 18 cases had been reported. Medical officer Nabaghana Chaudhuri reported at that time that those affected got the anthrax virus after eating rotten meat, reports.

Anthrax, mainly a disease of farm animals but a leading bioterror hazard, is spread by spores. The fatality rate without quick antibiotic treatment after inhaling anthrax spores is as high as 80 percent.

Anthrax mainly affects wild and domestic lower vertebrates like cattle, goats and other herbivores, but can also infect humans. When anthrax infects humans, it is usually due to an occupational exposure to infected animals or their products. Those infected will suffer nausea, vomiting of blood, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and weakness.