Indian state takes steps to prevent outbreak of anthrax

The state government of Kerala, India, announced on Tuesday that it would take emergency measures to contain a potential outbreak of anthrax among livestock.

The government took action after reports of an anthrax outbreak in Tamil Nadu's Cumbum and Theni districts, which border Kerala's Idukki district. On Tuesday, the government banned the transport of cattle from Tamil Nadu through checkpoints in the Idukki district. On Wednesday, the state's animal husbandry department started a cattle vaccination program along the state's border districts, TNN reports.

More than 20 cattle fell dead in Theni and Cumbum on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Blood tests confirmed anthrax in the cattle and their carcasses were buried deep below ground to prevent the bacteria from spreading.

"The spots where the cattle fell dead are places where anthrax outbreak was reported earlier," K G Suma, the director of Kerala's animal husbandry department, said, according to TNN. "Such places are bound to see outbreaks every year, if the cattle are not vaccinated regularly."

Suma said that the Kerala government contacted Tamil Nadu authorities to confirm that additional cattle deaths were not reported there after Monday. The ban will continue until the state receives clearance from the Southern Regional Diagnostic Disease Laboratory in Bangalore, TNN reports.