An Italian stockman has been treated for anthrax after contracting the bacterial disease slaughtering an infected cow in the town of Tramutola, Potenza province, Basilicata region, Italy.


According to an email account of the situation on Pro Med Mail, on 23 Sep 2014, a cow developed symptoms of illness and was immediately slaughtered on a farm with stall-housed animals. A 2nd cow also died. Laboratory confirmation of Bacillus anthracis was determined.

The man who slaughtered the 1st cow developed skin lesions and received antibiotic treatment for anthrax.

The anthrax genotype was the same for the two animals, in fact, it was the same genotype as that responsible for a provincial epidemic in 2011.

The forage was seized and all the animals vaccinated, with a 2nd treatment after 14 days.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism. A vaccine is available for use in susceptible livestock.

Acute fevers followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are common signs of anthrax in livestock. Carcasses may also appear bloated and decompose quickly.

Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore forming bacteria can survive in the environment for years because of its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc.  This is usually the infectious stage of anthrax.

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. However, in the above case, the ProMed moderator says when housed livestock come down with anthrax they did not get it from grazing. It had to have been fed to them.

Anthrax infects humans primarily through occupational or incidental exposure with infected animals of their skins. There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax.

There are three types of human anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness: cutaneous, gastrointestinal and inhalation. For more infectious disease news and informationvisit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page