Bangladesh prepares to fight back against anthrax outbreak

The Bangladeshi government has formed a 25 member National Steering Committee to help deal with a major outbreak of anthrax among the country’s livestock.

Representatives from the ministries of health, environment, home affairs, foreign affairs and livestock, as well as all six of the nation’s corporations, will take part in the committee. Fisheries and livestock minister Abdul Latif Biswas,will be the committee’s chairman, according to the Daily Star.

The committee intends to oversee a massive vaccination campaign to inoculate all of Bangladesh’s livestock by the festival of Eid that marks the end of the Ramadan fasting period.  They will initially cover the afflicted area’s eight districts and move on from there, Ashraf Ali, director general of the livestock department and a committee member, told the Daily Star.

Biswas assured the nation that sick cattle would be identified in the market and that there will be 10 checkpoints to ensure that only healthy cattle are sacrificed in Eid’s religious rituals.

Meanwhile, officials have said that the government has received reports that some civil surgeons had incorrectly identified simple skin infections as cutaneous anthrax. A training workshop will be held on September 24 to clarify any gaps in civil health training.

Professor Mahmudur Rahman, the director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, told the Daily Star that he believed up to 25 cases of anthrax infection had been misdiagnosed on September 18.

"A team from the IEDCR has been sent to the area. Sample from the affected persons has also been collected to confirm the disease," Rahman told the Daily Star.

The institute’s records show that a total of 589 people have been infected with anthrax in the last month.