Armenia reports anthrax outbreak to OIE

Armenia vaccinated thousands of sheep, goats and cattle against anthrax in the wake of a naturally occurring outbreak in the eastern province of Gegharkunik.

Armenia's Ministry of Agriculture wrote an alert to the World Organization for Animal Health that notified the body of six cattle deaths in the region, according to Bloomberg.

The Paris-based OIE posted the full notification on its website. Dr. Grisha Baghiyan, the first deputy to the agriculture minister, reported that Bacillus anthracis was identified in two cattle populations in the region. All six cattle that were infected died of the disease.

The event was contained within the region and livestock near to the infected animals were vaccinated and placed under quarantine. This included the vaccination of more than 2,000 cattle and 3,000 sheep. Several hundred were revaccinated.

"The event is resolved. No more reports will be submitted," the report said, Bloomberg reports.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported that this was the first outbreak in Armenia since 2007.

Anthrax is considered to be a major potential weapon of bioterrorism, but it also occurs naturally. The bacteria is not spread from person to person and can exist in a dormant state in the form of spores for many years. The spores can activate when they come into contact with human skin, are ingested or inhaled.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies anthrax as Category A biological agent, placing it among those pathogens that are the most dangerous to public health.