Study investigates 2010 Bhutanese anthrax outbreak

A recently released study on an anthrax outbreak in Bhutan said that comprehensive preparedness and response guidelines are needed to increase public awareness of the disease in that country.

The study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, investigated a Bhutanese outbreak of anthrax in 2010.

The outbreak killed 43 domestic animals in nine villages in the country. The study found that in addition to cattle, four pigs and six cats likely came into contact with anthrax through the consumption of infected meat or contaminated kitchen waste. Horses that carried infected meat also died from the disease.

The disease likely spread from a cow that died after a brief illness in the village of Kaktong, in a remote area of Bhutan The owner of the herd sold or shared the meat from the infected cow, which spread the disease to eight other villages.

A total of nine people died from the anthrax outbreak, one of whom died. All of the residents who contracted the disease came into contact with infected animals.

The researchers reported that the farmers in Kaktong and neighboring villages were unaware the animals had anthrax and the public health implications of the disease.

Sporadic anthrax outbreaks occur annually among animals in Bhutan. The study said that the sudden emergence of the 2010 outbreak could be attributed to heavy rainfall.