Hungarian health authorities have reported (computer translated) four human cutaneous anthrax cases, at least one confirmed, in two separate counties in recent weeks.
The affected individuals were reported from farms in Bács-Kiskun and Békés counties. In addition, an additional 30 people were treated prophylactically with antibiotics due to possible exposure.
Animal health officials have reported a confirmed anthrax case in a cow and an additional four suspect cases on an outbreak in Kötegyán, Bekes.
These are the first human anthrax cases in Hungary in several years.
Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can be found naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world. Although it is rare, people can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
Cutaneous anthrax occurs when the spore (or possibly the bacterium) enters a cut or abrasion on the skin. It starts out as a raised bump that looks like an insect bite. It then develops into a blackened lesion called an eschar that may form a scab. Lymph glands in the area may swell plus edema may be present. This form of anthrax responds well to antibiotics. If untreated, deaths can occur if the infection goes systemic. 95% of cases of anthrax are cutaneous.
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