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Anthrax case in western Kazakhstan

17 october 2014, 11:51
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Regional Hospital of Infectious Diseases ©mgorod.kz
Regional Hospital of Infectious Diseases ©mgorod.kz

A 65-year-old woman from Zhanybek region of West Kazakhstan Oblast has been hospitalised with anthrax, Tengrinews reports citing Moi Gorod regional news website.

The woman was delivered to the Regional Infectious Diseases Hospital on October 13.

She started getting the first symptoms on October 9. But no one was quarantined in relation to the case because by the time the anthrax diagnosis was confirmed by a lab the incubation period had already run out with no more cases being reported. Two people who came in contact with the woman are being closely watched by doctors, however.

The 65-y.o. woman is believed to have gotten the rare infectious disease from a sheep she reportedly butchered all by herself on September 30. Sores started appearing on her nose alae on October 9.    

“This disease does not pose a big threat to the life and health of people," Head of the Consumer Protection Department of West Kazakhstan Oblast Sergei Scherbin said, "It is not transmitted from person to person. A human is a biological dead end for this disease. But the disease can spread from infected animals to humans at slaughter.

"On October 13, a medical team went to the district to fine the source of the disease. There is no rush, since the anthrax incubation period is 5 to 9 days, i.e. this period has already passed and there have been no other cases reported. But finding the cause of the disease in a completely difference thing. Domestic animals have been vaccinated in the area. The sick animal's skin has been sent (to a lab) for tests, but there were no meat left, unfortunately,” he said. 

The fact that the meat was eaten, or sold and eaten is not a good sign, since it can also became a source of the disease. But doctors are monitoring the area for more cases.

The woman is getting better. Animals in the area were treated to prevent more cases of anthrax.

In recent years, there have been other isolated cases of anthrax in western Kazakhstan: in Burlin, Zhanibek, Syrym, Zelenovsk regions. In all these cases, slaughtered cattle was the source of the disease for people. 

Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals. Effective vaccines against anthrax are now available, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment. 

Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another; it is spread by spores. Anthrax commonly infects wild and domesticated herbivorous mammals that ingest or inhale the spores while grazing. Diseased animals can spread anthrax to humans, either by direct contact (e.g., inoculation of infected blood to broken skin) or by consumption of a diseased animal's flesh.

The disease is primarily countered by vaccination of animals.

Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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