Authorities in Chuvashia are investigating the causes of the anthrax infection of two residents after slaughtering the carcass of a bull. What kind of disease is it and is it worth worrying about infection by eating this beef, Elena Malinnikova, a virologist at the Russian Ministry of Health, told RTVI.
A new outbreak of anthrax?
Two residents of Chuvashia were hospitalized with symptoms of anthrax infection. This could have happened as a result of an injury while slaughtering cattle. The authorities of the republic held an operational meeting, a republican sanitary and anti-epidemiological commission was formed.
“It is important that nothing threatens the lives of citizens. All are hospitalized with a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis and receive all the specific care necessary. Condition of patients of moderate severity. The therapeutic prognosis is favorable, – informed in his telegram channel, the head of the republic, Oleg Nikolaev. “People in contact with citizens are in good health, are under constant medical supervision and receive preventive treatment.”
Experts have not yet established how two people in Chuvashia became infected. How declared in February, experts from the Rospotrebnadzor Office for the Chuvash Republic, in 2022, cases of anthrax in the region were not registered.
According Mash potatoes, a man who was infected while cutting bull meat managed to sell 500-600 kilograms of meat, presumably to gypsies on the highway. There were no meat samples left for research; source of livestock illness was likely purchased feed.
What is anthrax
Anthrax (malignant anthrax, anthrax) is a particularly dangerous infectious disease of agricultural and wild animals of all kinds, including humans, occurring in a short time and fairly quickly. The incubation period lasts several days, but can be reduced to several hours.
Typical symptoms are lower back pain, headache, weakness, fever, chills. At the site of infection, skin manifestations appear – ulcers with black crusts.
The disease leads to complications – swelling of the brain, inflammation of its membranes, bleeding from the stomach, inflammation of the intestines, swelling and inflammation of the lungs, a critical drop in blood pressure. In the cutaneous form, mortality is 2-3%, generalized – up to 100% (patients die in 2-3 days with symptoms of infectious-toxic shock).
The last major anthrax outbreaks were noted in 2016 in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, when as a result of contact with affected reindeer get sick 36 people, one death was recorded. In 2020 in a village in Dagestan following an infection in a slaughterhouse get sick five persons.
How can you catch anthrax
“There is anthrax in Russia. It is observed mainly in Dagestan and in the north, in the Yamal-Nenets district. Ulcer spores can persist for quite a long time. If the integrity of animal burials is violated, the spread of anthrax is possible. Of course, it’s mostly cattle. By itself, anthrax is well treated, if we talk about the skin form, from which people more often get sick. If we talk about the pulmonary form, then it is life-threatening. More often they get sick with the cutaneous form,” Elena Malinnikova, head of the virology department at RMANPO of the Russian Ministry of Health, told RTVI.
“Anthrax is transmitted by its spores. If the meat is cooked and eaten, passed through the gastrointestinal tract, people do not get sick. Usually people get sick when slaughtering a carcass. If they are cut, there is a violation of the skin, forms of skin infection occur. If the spores are on the wool, inhalation of the spores is possible – the pulmonary form develops, it is more dangerous and can be transmitted from person to person. But such cases are very rare. Most often these are cutaneous forms,” Malinnikova explained.
Vaccination remains the primary means of preventing anthrax for people at risk of infection due to work with livestock. For people not associated with this type of activity, doctors recommend avoiding contact with wild animals as a preventive measure, not buying meat products and skins from the hands and in unverified places.
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