Bangladesh officials say anthrax infections growing at an alarming rate

Health officials in Bangladesh report that the recent outbreak of anthrax has continued to spread at an alarming rate.

Officials with the Bangladesh Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research told that up to 254 people have now become infected with anthrax.

The outbreak, which began August 19 in Shahjadpur and adjoining upazilas of Sirajganj, is the eighth anthrax outbreak this year. Approximately 99 people and several animals were affected during the seven earlier outbreaks, IEDCR officials told

Officials believe that the most recent outbreak may have originated in the Sirajganj district after beef infected with anthrax was sold at a lower price than usual from the kitchen markets on July 27.

Mahmudur Rahman, chief of Bangladesh IEDCR, told that the chances of mortality after infection were extremely low.

Professor Abu Hadi Noor Ali Khan, chairman of the veterinary department at the Bangladesh Agriculture University and head of the four member expert team that has visited the anthrax-affected villages, agreed with Rahman.

“All kinds of domestic animals including cows, goats, sheep, buffaloes and more have the chance of contracting the disease and transmitting it to humans,” Hadi told “The outbreak can occur at any time as the bacterium can survive in the soil for over 30 to 40 years. As animals are infected upon inhaling it, the parts of Bangladesh like Pabna, Sirajganj, Tangail and Kushtia, with the most animal population, are naturally the 'endemic areas'.”

Hadi noted that the outbreak may increase due to the lack of awareness and inadequate supplies of vaccines.

An unnamed district livestock officer of Sirajganj painted a slightly grimmer picture to

“As there is a shortage of manpower, we are finding it tough to vaccinate all the animals,” the livestock officer told “Although we have tried to initiate awareness programs to ensure that the disease can be contained, villagers, who are yet to be within our reach, are still slaughtering their affected cows while dumping the bones and sometimes, even carcasses of the animals, in the open fields and in the ponds. This will aggravate the situation.”