Anthrax outbreak in Kerala

Health Minister of Kerala, Veena George, recently confirmed the outbreak of Anthrax in Athirappilly of Thrissur district, after finding several carcasses of wild boar.

Key Points

  • Anthrax is a serious infectious disease, which is caused by spore-forming bacteria.
  • It has usually been found in southern states of India. It is less frequently found in northern states.
  • The disease has been reported in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Orissa and Karnataka.

About Anthrax

Anthrax is also called as woolsorter’s disease or malignant pustule. It is a rare but serious disease, caused due to rod-shaped bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. These bacteria occur naturally in soil. As per WHO, Anthrax is a disease of herbivores, affecting wild as well as domestic animals. It is a zoonotic disease; thus, it is transmissible from animals to humans. There are some cases of person-to-person transmission. However, it is a rare phenomenon.

Anthrax infection in animals

Wild and domestic animals can get infected, when they ingest spores in or breathe in in contaminated soil, water or plants. Infected animal shed the bacteria on ground, which sporulates after getting exposed to air. These spores can persist in soil for decades and wait till it is taken up by another host. The bacteria subsequently germinates and multiply, causing to its spread. Herbivorous animals can get infected through contaminated soil and feed. On the other hand, omnivorous & carnivorous animals get the disease through contaminated bones, meat, and other feeds

Anthrax infection in humans

Humans get infected with Anthrax disease directly or indirectly from animals or animal products.  They get infected when spores enter the body, through eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, breathing, or through scrapes or cuts in the skin. After entering the body, spores get activated and start multiplying & spreading in body.

symptoms of Anthrax

Sudden death of one or two animals within the herd of livestock species such as cattle, sheep or goats is the first sign. They might show signs of high fever. In wildlife animals, sudden death accompanied by bloody discharge f(rom mouth, nose), bloating, and absence of clotting of blood are common symptoms.

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