Anthrax outbreak in Siberia

Approximately 130 people have been hospitalized with anthrax during an outbreak of the disease in Russia’s Siberian city of Omsk, regional Health Ministry officials have announced.

Health officials reported that 83 of the people being treated were likely infected while processing meat infected with the disease, reported. Officials fear some of the meat may have already reached grocery shelves.

The most recent incident followed an anthrax outbreak in Omsk that led to the death of a local resident. Two other human cases were confirmed during that outbreak and an additional four suspected cases are awaiting test results, health officials told

Meanwhile, health officials in India reported last week that the number of anthrax cases in four villages in Orissa’s Sundargarh district has risen to 26. The rise in anthrax cases began in early June. At that time, approximately 18 cases had been reported.

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.