Suspected anthrax cases reported in Araku

Hospital authorities from King George Hospital in Araku Valley reported on Tuesday that two patients have been diagnosed with suspected cases of cutaneous anthrax.

Anthrax is an acute disease caused by a lethal bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. Most versions of the disease are lethal and are known to affect both humans and animals. The anthrax spores can be made and then used as a biological weapon.

Depending on how it is ingested, anthrax has different symptoms. Cutaneous anthrax, which is the kind suspected in King George Hospital, is caused by spores coming in contact with the skin. The result is boil-like lesions that tend to be less lethal than the other versions of anthrax.

"Two patients from Araku - Appanna, 47 and Rajulamma, 35 - were admitted a couple of days ago and are now being treated in the dermatology ward after they developed ulcers on fingers," Dr. B Bangaraiah, a KGH resident, said. "They have been diagnosed with anthrax but their condition is stable. Anthrax caused by bacillus bacteria is curable when diagnosed and treated early, but it may affect the lungs and turn fatal if timely treatment is not given."

The cases have not been confirmed yet and samples have been taken and given to the government laboratory to see if they are in fact anthrax. Officials believe the possible anthrax spores might have come from the soil in the region, where they could live for 30 to 40 years.