Chinese villagers infected with anthrax

Two villagers from eastern China's Jiangsu Province are being treated at a local hospital for anthrax infection.

The two were sent to the city of Lianyungang's Number Four People's Hospital with swollen hands and blackened skin after slaughtering a sick bull that was purchased from another province, according to

"There are indeed two villagers who have diagnosed of anthrax in the county, but we are not very clear on the details," a staffer from the Disease Control and Prevention Center of Lianyungang said, reports.

Laboratory testing confirmed the presence of anthrax. In response, five villages have been placed under quarantine as a precaution.

Three other villagers who participated in slaughtering the sick bull have not shown symptoms of infection, but are taking preventative medication as a precaution.

Hoofed animals, including cattle and sheep, can acquire anthrax by eating soil containing anthrax spores that germinate in the body. China records naturally occurring cases of the illness, which is usually treated with antibiotics, every year, according to

The symptoms of anthrax infection differ depending on how the spores are acquired. In humans, infection most often involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract or lungs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.