By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials in Bomet County, Kenya report 18 people from a local village have been hospitalized for suspected anthrax, according to a Standard Media report.

Image/Robert Herriman

Patients were admitted to various hospitals in Bomet and Kericho counties.

“The villagers were brought to the hospital in the morning and are currently undergoing treatment and observation,” said a doctor at the Kapkatet hospital.

“The victims who slaughtered the carcass and buried it, have developed blisters on various parts of their bodies as a result. So far, there is no report of anyone having feasted on the carcass,” said Mr Stanley Mutai, a county disaster management officer.

Lab results are expected within the next day for the confirmation of anthrax.

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 bacteriumBacillus 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.

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There are three types of human anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness: cutaneousgastrointestinal and inhalation.