Health officials in Morocco are investigating an outbreak of anthrax in the town of Imilchil in Midelt province, according to a Morocco World News report today.
Nine people have been diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax linked to exposure to handling diseased cows.
“This epidemiological situation is not alarming in the sense that the Cutaneous anthrax disease is of bacterial origin and can generally be treated,” said the Ministry of Health, reassuring that the Ministry, in coordination with the departments concerned, is closely monitoring the situation and will inform the public of any developments.
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.
Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today