Anthrax cases in Bangladesh continue to rise

The number of anthrax infections in three villages in Bangladesh’s Sirjganj district has risen to 88.

The outbreak, located only 134 kilometers northwest of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, is centered on three sub-districts. There are 32 infections in Kamarkhand, 15 in Belkuchi and 41 in Shahjadpur, where the outbreak appears to have originated, according to iStockAnalyst.

A public health official has announced that, since August 18, medicine has been distributed in Chithulia village in Shajadpur and that the condition of the villagers is improving.

Medical teams are being sent to Belkuchi today and there is an expectation that the toll will rise once new information is collected, iStockAnalyst reports.

Aminul Islam, the district’s deputy commissioner, told iStockAnalyst that infected cattle - the likely source of the outbreak - need to be isolated and given an anthrax vaccine. Additionally, all cattle and domestic animals in the area need to be examined quickly.

Shahjadpur is expected to be hit hard economically by the outbreak. It possesses a large and well-developed cattle market. Milkvita, the country’s largest milk producer, utilizes the cattle from all of the adjoining sub-districts where the infection has hit.

Anthrax commonly affects both wild and domesticated animals which, while grazing, ingest or inhale the bacterium or its spores. Diseased animals then spread the infection to humans who can contract the disease through ingestion of infected meat, inhalation or direct contact.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies anthrax as a Category A agent, meaning it has a high potential to be weaponized and used in a bioterror attack.