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Back To Vidyya Anthrax In Romania; Ethiopia

Outbreak Information

WHO has received reports of clusters of cases of suspected anthrax in the Afar region of Ethiopia. This area is inhabited by pastoralists who depend on livestock and cases of anthrax are known to occur. Reports from organizations (e.g. United Nations Development Programme, Médecins Sans Frontières) working in the area indicate clusters of cases and increased numbers of cases of a clinical syndrome consistent with anthrax. No systematic epidemiological investigation has been carried out thus far. WHO has planned to carry out an investigation in the region in order to confirm the diagnosis, assess the true extent and impact of the disease and plan and implement control measures.

In Romania, one man is dead of anthrax and six members of his family are believed to have contracted the disease, after it killed dozens of livestock in a Danube Delta village, a health official said Wednesday.

"Containment of the disease would be difficult, as the villagers of Mahmudia keep some 900 horses and 450 cattle in a half-domesticated condition on Danube reefs, and do not report them to authorities to avoid taxation," said veterinarian Marian Avram, of Tulcea county health authorities, adding that the animals were not vaccinated.

Already 70 head of cattle, horses and pigs had died of anthrax, Avram said.

Veterinary inspectors found that the man who died had slaughtered a pig and ate the meat together with his family, in spite of the ban ordered by authorities on the consumption of animal products at Mahmudia, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Bucharest.

Another man is suspected to have contracted the disease because he handled the skin of a horse he found dead on the reefs, Avram said.

Anthrax, an infectious hemorrhage disease, can be transmitted from animals to humans.

The worst most recent case of anthrax contamination in Romania happened three months ago in the eastern city of Buzau, where the local hospital treated six people who ate an infected lamb. No one died.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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