Five hundred anthrax infections reported in Bangladesh

According to Bangladeshi officials, more than 500 people have now contracted anthrax from infected cattle.

A health ministry official, Mahmudur Rahman, announced on September 14 that hundreds of cattle have died across the country, but says that the infected people are mostly suffering non-fatal wound-like lesions, according to AHN News.

Rahman said that the infections in cattle are being addressed through vaccinations. The disease is believed to have spread through the slaughtering of infected animals. Handling or eating the meat of the animals then spread anthrax to the human population. Cattle become infected by ingesting anthrax bacteria and spores that exist naturally in the soil.

Bangladesh is exhibiting trouble in effectively combating the outbreak and the disease appears to be spreading, according to WeeklyBlitz.com. It was first detected in August in the Siraganj district, where almost 40 villagers fell ill, and has now moved into neighboring districts.

Reports this week from Bangladesh claimed that a large portion of the country’s meat sold at market - up to 35 percent - may be tainted by anthrax. The end of the Islamic fasting period of Ramadan and the beginning of the festival of Eid worry local officials who fear further infection.

Anthrax is highly contagious and can be acquired by simply handling the wool or hides of infected animals. It is considered to have a high potential to be used as biological weapon by terrorists groups because of is contagiousness, low survivability and lethality.