In a follow-up to a report last week out of northwest China, officials with the Health and Family Planning Commission of Shaanxi province are reporting the number of human anthrax cases has risen to 19, up seven from last week.


Health officials say eighteen of the nineteen patients required hospitalization and all are in stable condition.

In addition, at least 15 livestock, including mules, cattle and sheep are reported to have died in the village of Yuanzhuang.

A team from the Shaanxi CDC arrived to assess the scene and administered anthrax vaccine to 50 people who had been in close contact with infected livestock and disinfected 28,000 sq meters including animal pens, water sources, livestock slaughter points and farms where livestock had died.

The US CDC says 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.

Contact with anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals. Anthrax is not contagious person to person.

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