Thirteen people contract anthrax in Peru

Thirteen people in Peru have contracted anthrax after people in the area handled a diseased animal.

The infection occurred in the Otuzco province of the La Libertad region of Peru. The confirmation of cutaneous anthrax infection, which occurs when anthrax comes into contact with the skin, happened on Tuesday at a clinic in the town of Sinsicap, the Examiner reports.

There is currently no known anthrax vaccination program for cattle or other animals in the town.

Anthrax can be found worldwide and is particularly problematic in countries without effective programs for public health. The areas that are high risk for anthrax are the Middle East, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Eastern and Southern Europe, and Central and South America.

Anthrax is caused by the Bacillus anthracis spore-forming bacterium, which affects wild animals and livestock such as cattle, deer, camels, horses, goats and sheep. Humans are infected primarily through incidental or occupational exposure with infected animals or their skins.

Anthrax infection can also occur when people consume undercooked meat of infected animals and when spores of the bacterium are intentionally released in an act of bioterrorism.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are one to two cases of cutaneous anthrax annually in the United States.