VISAKHAPATNAM: Anthrax appears to have made a comeback to Visakhapatnam Agency. As many as six people from Dumbriguda mandal were admitted to King George Hospital (KGH) on Sunday late night with suspected anthrax symptoms. According to the doctors at the KGH dermatology department, five people—T Donnu, M Ranthu , T Somoni, K Gasi , J Srinivasarao and T Raju— approached the hospital with complaints of suspected cutaneous anthrax systems after a group of the villagers consumed the meat of a sick goat a few weeks ago.
“All patients have developed rashes and pustules on their hands, legs and face. But, It’s not life-threatening and can be cured with regular vaccination,” said B Balachandrudu, HoD of the KGH dermatology wing, adding that smears from the lesions and blood samples have been collected for lab testing.
Now, the patients are kept in quarantine ward and being treated with antibiotics, apart from regular dressings.
In June this year, five patients from Kodupunjuvalasa village of Araku Valley were confirmed positive for cutaneous anthrax and the mode of contracting infection was similar—the victims ate meat of a goat which was already infected with Bacillus anthracis, the causal organism of cutaneous anthrax.
“The cutaneous anthrax spores can thrive for more than 70 years in the soil. The animals get the spores into their stomach while grazing. Tribal people contract infection if they eat infected meat or through cuts and abrasions in their bodies while cutting the animal flesh,” says B Balachandrudu. Meanwhile, KGH superintendent G Arjuna and Andhra Medical College principal PV Sudhakar interacted with the patients.
“Blood samples of the patients will be tested at the microbiology department here. If they are tested positive, the samples will be sent to DRDE Laboratory in Gwalior. According to the tribals, several animals have died in the surrounding villages due to various reasons in the last one month. We have launched a medical camp to screen the residents,” said epidemiologist L Kalyan Prasad.
What’s it about
Cutaneous anthrax is a skin infection caused by bacteria Bacillus anthracis
This bacteria get into animal stomach during grazing
Anthrax spores thrive in soil for more than 70 years
Humans contract infections through eating infected meat or through cuts coming in contact of sick animals
Cutaneous anthrax is not fatal and can be cured by regular vaccination
Animal Husbandry Department will administer vaccines to 11,000 animals including cattle, goat and sheep in 24 villages at Dumbriguda mandal from Tuesday.