In a follow-up to a report yesterday about an anthrax outbreak in Bangladesh’s Sirajganj district, local media reports reveal the outbreak has grown significantly in the past day.

 Agricultural Research Service/USDA

Agricultural Research Service/USDA

In a single village at Ullapara upazila (sub-district) in Sirajganj, 40 additional anthrax cases have been reported in the past 24 hours. According to the district health office, some 87 total anthrax cases have been reported in recent weeks.

The outbreaks are linked to infected animals that were slaughtered and sold at cheap prices to villagers. A animal vaccination campaign is under way in the village.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis.Anthraxis most common in wild and domestic herbivores (eg, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes) but can also be seen in humans exposed to tissue from infected animals, contaminated animal products or directly to B anthracis spores under certain conditions.

Depending on the route of infection, host factors, and potentially strain-specific factors,anthrax can have several different clinical presentations. In herbivores, anthraxcommonly presents as an acute septicemia with a high fatality rate, often accompanied by hemorrhagic lymphadenitis.

B. anthracis spores can remain infective in soil for many years. During this time, they are a potential source of infection for grazing livestock. Grazing animals may become infected when they ingest sufficient quantities of these spores from the soil.In addition to direct transmission, biting flies may mechanically transmit B. anthracisspores from one animal to another.

People can get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming undercooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores.