Chinese villagers infected with anthrax improve after treatment

Two Ganyu county villagers in China's Jiangsu province experienced improvement following treatment after their initial anthrax diagnosis.

The Ganyu Center for Disease Control said on August 7 that the source of the anthrax was a cow from a different province. Approximately 10 villagers butchered the cow on July 25, which died prior to arriving at the village, China Daily reports.

Wang Xianjun, a villager, and his son were diagnosed with anthrax on July 30 and five other villagers were put under medical observation after exhibiting anthrax symptoms. The other villagers who butchered the cow began taking preventive anthrax medication.

The health department of the Jiangsu province sent experts to the village to control the spread of the disease and prevent an epidemic, China Daily reports.

Anthrax is caused by the spore-forming Bacillus anthracis bacterium. Humans can get anthrax from handling products from infected animals, eating undercooked meat from infected animals or breathing in anthrax spores from infected animal products, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Inhalation and gastrointestinal anthrax are more severe than cutaneous, or skin-based, anthrax. Between one-quarter and more than one-half of gastrointestinal anthrax cases lead to death. Inhalation anthrax can be even more severe, even with treatment.