Vietnam warns of anthrax outbreak

The Vietnam Administration of Preventive Medicine warned the county's northern mountainous provinces on Sunday of anthrax outbreaks in humans, including 12 cases and one death in Lai Chau.

The Dien Bien and Ha Giang provinces were also affected by the outbreak. The administration blamed local citizen's lack of hygienic eating habits for the transmission of the bacterial Bacillus anthracis, which passes from animals to humans. Anthrax cases have been reported in the provinces since June, Thanh Nien News reports.

In the Dien Bien province, the first anthrax case was reported after an ethnic minority resident slaughtered two buffaloes that died from diseases. The resident invited other villagers to eat and sold the meat of nine sick buffaloes.

Health officers have been sent by provincial authorities to affected areas to raise public awareness of anthrax and measures to prevent the disease. Home remedy information is also being provided to ethnic minority communities in the provinces, according to Thanh Nien News.

Anthrax commonly infects domesticated and wild herbivorous mammals that inhale or ingest the spores while grazing. Animals that contract the disease can spread anthrax to humans either by direct contact or by consumption of a diseased animal's flesh.

Anthrax can enter the human body through the intestines, lungs or skin and causes certain clinical symptoms based on its site of entry. Symptoms include fever, cold, severe diarrhea and boil-like skin lesions.