What Is Anthrax Disease? Found In Kerala Symptoms And Treatment ?

Anthrax, commonly found in the southern states of India, is a rare but serious disease that primarily affects animals.

Kerala health officials confirmed the presence of anthrax, a serious infectious disease caused by spore-forming bacteria, in Athirappilly, Thrissur district, on Thursday, June 30, after several wild boar carcasses were discovered.

Health Secretary Veena George confirmed the outbreak and said the government was taking immediate action to prevent the spread of the disease.

Anthrax is generally found in the southern states of India and is less common in the northern states. In recent years it has been reported from Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Orissa and Karnataka.

Table of Content

What Is Anthrax Disease ?

Anthrax, also known as malignant pustule or wool grading disease, is a rare but serious disease caused by the rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. It occurs naturally in the soil and, according to the WHO, is primarily a disease of herbivores, affecting both domestic and wild animals.

Anthrax is a zoonotic disease, which means that it is naturally transmissible from animals (usually vertebrae) to humans. People can contract the disease through contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with bacteria.

According to the WHO, anthrax is generally considered non-contagious. There have been cases of person-to-person transmission, but these cases are extremely rare.

How Animals Gets Anthrax Disease?

Domestic and wild animals can become infected by inhaling or ingesting spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water.

Host animals excrete the bacterium in the soil, which sporulates in the air. While waiting to be ingested by another host, these spores, which can remain in the soil for decades, germinate and multiply, causing them to spread. Flies also appear to play a major role in explosive outbreaks of the disease, according to the WHO.

Herbivorous animals can contract the disease through contaminated soil and food, while omnivores and carnivores become infected through contaminated meat, bones, and other food. According to the National Health Portal of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, wild animals get sick from feeding on carcasses infected with anthrax.

How Animals Gets Anthrax Disease
Image Credit – Centers for Disease Control And Prevention . CDC 24/7.

How Humans Affected From Anthrax Disease ?

People almost always get sick directly or indirectly from animals or animal products. People become infected with anthrax when the spores enter the body, by breathing, eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, or through cuts or abrasions on the skin.

The spores then “activate” and multiply, spreading throughout the body, producing toxins and causing. serious illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US national health agency.

Humans can contract the disease by handling the carcasses, bones, wool, skins, or other products of infected animals. People who work with animals can get skin anthrax when the spores enter through cuts or abrasions in the skin.

They can also get inhalational anthrax by breathing in spores on the animal’s wool, fur, or hair. Consumption of raw or undercooked meat from infected animals can cause gastrointestinal anthrax in humans.

Those most at risk of contracting the disease are people who work with animals, such as farmers, veterinarians, livestock dealers, wool selectors and laboratory professionals, according to the National Health Portal.

What Are The Symptoms of Anthrax ?

In livestock species such as cattle, sheep or goats, the first symptom is usually the sudden death of one or two animals in the herd. Before they die, they may show signs of a high fever.

According to the WHO, sudden death is also a common indicator in wild animals, often accompanied by bloody discharge from the body’s natural orifices (mouth, nose, ear, anus), flatulence, incomplete rigor mortis, and lack of blood coagulation. blood.

In humans, skin symptoms of anthrax can include clusters of small blisters that can be painless, itchy skin sores with a black center, with the possibility of swelling around them. This is the most common course of the disease and is rarely fatal.

Inhalation anthrax includes fever and chills, shortness of breath, cough, and nausea, to name a few. It is the deadliest form of the disease and can cause death in 2-3 days. Finally, symptoms of gastrointestinal anthrax can include nausea and vomiting (with blood), swelling of the throat, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

How We Can Treat Anthrax ?

According to the WHO, antibiotic therapy given early in the infection has been shown to be effective. Penicillin has long been the antibiotic of choice, but in recent years ciprofloxacin and doxycycline have also been used as alternatives.

One way to prevent disease is to vaccinate livestock to prevent the spread of disease. Vaccines for humans also exist, but their availability is generally limited to vulnerable people, such as laboratory workers and animal handlers.

What Has Happened In Kerala ?

The Kerala government was alerted on Wednesday June 29 after anthrax was reported in several wild boar carcasses in the Athirappilly forest region in Thrissur.

“Wild boars died en masse in Athirappilly forest. As a result, the health department, the animal husbandry department and the forestry department conducted an investigation. Samples were tested to confirm the case of anthrax infection,” Health Secretary Veena George said.

He added that the department is taking immediate steps to prevent the disease. A vaccination campaign was launched for domestic livestock in the area and those who had handled wild boar carcasses would have been subject to medical monitoring and preventive treatment.

Kerala authorities have said people need not worry about the situation and preventive measures taken by the government mean there is less chance of the disease spreading from wild animals to livestock or humans.

Frequently Ask Questions

Question – What Is Anthrax Disease?

Answer- Anthrax, also known as malignant pustule or wool grading disease, is a rare but serious disease caused by the rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. It occurs naturally in the soil and, according to the WHO, is primarily a disease of herbivores, affecting both domestic and wild animals.

Question – How Animals Gets Anthrax Disease?

Answer- Domestic and wild animals can become infected by inhaling or ingesting spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water.

Question – How We Can Treat Anthrax ?

Answer – According to the WHO, antibiotic therapy given early in the infection has been shown to be effective. Penicillin has long been the antibiotic of choice, but in recent years ciprofloxacin and doxycycline have also been used as alternatives.

Question – What Are The Symptoms of Anthrax ?

Answer – In livestock species such as cattle, sheep or goats, the first symptom is usually the sudden death of one or two animals in the herd. Before they die, they may show signs of a high fever.

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