An anthrax outbreak, probably linked to the consumption of infected cattle, has been reported in Bardega village, Simdega district in Jharkland state in eastern India.

Bacillus anthracis/CDC
Bacillus anthracis/CDC

According to Hindustan Times report, 13 villagers have been hospitalized in the suspected anthrax outbreak. The report notes: Bardega village where the anthrax outbreak is reported is about 145 km west of state capital Ranchi and just 30 km from Kurumdegi where one person was killed by the disease four days ago.

The investigation into the source of the outbreak and laboratory testing for anthrax is currently underway.

A team has also been dispatched to look at the situation concerning animal vaccination for the deadly bacterial disease.

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, anthrax commonly 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.