By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
The Forest and Animal Husbandry Department in Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu state, India are reporting the death of a wild elephant from anthrax in Anaikatti.
The elephant is a female, age 13-15 years. Blood smears collected from the carcass showed the presence of the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis.
A Forest Veterinary Officer with the Coimbatore Forest Division, said the carcass would be destroyed on Tuesday, by deep burial or cremation, to prevent the spread of the infection.
The Animal Husbandry Department will conduct vaccination of head of cattle and goats in villages surrounding the forest area where the elephant was found dead.
Anthrax is a bacterial pathogen in livestock and wild animals. Ruminants such as bison, cattle, sheep and goats are highly susceptible, and horses can also be infected.
Anthrax is a very serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a very short time. Affected animals are often found dead with no illness detected.
When conditions become favorable, the spores germinate into colonies of bacteria. An example would be a grazing cow ingests spores that in the cow, germinate, grow spread and eventually kill the animal. Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore forming bacteria can survive in the environment for decades because of its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc. This is usually the infectious stage of anthrax.
There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax. People get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming undercooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores.
There are three types of human anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness: cutaneous, gastrointestinal and inhalation.
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