Nine new anthrax infections in Bangladesh

The number of anthrax infections continues to rise in Bangladesh, with nine new cases reported by officials with the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.

The latest cases, in the Pabna and Meherpur districts, bring the total number of anthrax infections since August 18 to 517 cases. No news of fresh infection of animals has been reported, however, an official with the livestock department told

Of the nine new cases, seven were found in Gangni and one in Mujibnagar upazila in Meherpur and one in Shathia upazila in Pabna. The districts where the cases of infected people were found are Narayanganj, Pabna, Sirajganj, Meherpur, Kushtia, Tangail, Manikganj, Shatkhira, Lalmonirhat and Rajshahi.

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research director Mahmudur Rahman told that vaccination of livestock is the main way to control anthrax.

Bidhan Chandra Das, the assistant director of health and administration at  the Department of Livestock, agreed, saying that his office was busy vaccinating animals in both the affected areas and in surrounding areas.

“We are also distributing leaflets to make the people aware about anthrax,” Das told

The anthrax outbreak began on August 18 when villagers in the Sirajganj district in central Bangladesh became infected, reports. The cause was traced to anthrax-infected 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.

Anthrax is a potentially deadly, highly contagious disease. Cutaneous forms of anthrax are the most treatable, causing death in 20 percent of 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.