Eight people in the central Karaganda region of Kazakhstan have contracted the serious bacterial infection, anthrax, resulting in two fatalities, according to a Radio Free Europe report.
It is reported that all eight people, including at least one child, had eaten the meat of a sick cow.
The fatalities are reported in a 50-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman.
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax is 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.