Suspected anthrax outbreak in Kyrgyzstan

Approximately 14 people in the Jalal-Abad region of Kyrgyzstan were recently hospitalized with what medical officials believed was anthrax.

The press service of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations told Itar-Tass on July 2 that six people received medical care in the Suak region of Jal-Abad. One of those six patients tested positive for anthrax. Further tests are being run on the other five patients, health officials told Itar-Tass.

Seven additional people in the neighboring Nooken district are also undergoing treatment at local medical facilities. Preliminary tests showed that the residents from the Nooken district may have been infected with anthrax from the meat of an ill domestic animal.

That animal, officials said, is under examination at a Jalal-Abad Epidemiological Center lab. The Nooken residents are also undergoing medical examinations in order to rule out possible anthrax infections.

In a separate case, a woman with a similar diagnosis was hospitalized in the Bazar-Korgon district.

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. Infection in humans most often involves the skin, the gastrointestinal tract or the lungs.

Anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep and goats, but humans who come into contact with the infected animals can get sick from anthrax, too. In the past, people who were most at risk for anthrax included farm workers, veterinarians, and tannery and wool workers.