Anthrax infections in Bangladesh top 479

The number of anthrax-infected people in Bangladesh continues to rise, with 32 new cases discovered recently, according to Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.

A total of 479 people have now been infected by the anthrax outbreak, which began on August 18 when villagers in the Sirajganj district in central Bangladesh became infected, reports. The cause was traced to anthrax-affected cows that were sold for meat to nearby villagers. All of the reported infections so far have been cutaneous and no deaths have been reported.

Officials have responded to the outbreak with quarantines, animal vaccinations and local education programs in an effort to forestall continued outbreak. Despite these efforts, eight out of the 64 districts in Bangladesh have now reported anthrax outbreaks. Officials have moved to coordinate response efforts between all 64 Bangladesh districts, according to

Anthrax is passed from an infected hoofed animal to a person. It is a potentially deadly, highly contagious disease. Cutaneous forms of anthrax are the most treatable, causing death in 20 percent those infected. Inhalation anthrax, generally the result of a deliberate attempt to release anthrax spores, is far more deadly, causing death in 80 percent of those infected.

The Sirajganj district is 83 miles north of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.