YEKATERINBURG, August 5. /TASS/. Five people who were taken to hospital from the anthrax focal point in Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (YaNAO), have been discharged from hospital on Friday, the regional governor’s press secretary Natalya Khlopunova told TASS.
"This morning, five people have been discharged from the Salekhard regional hospital. All of them are in good health, they have been treated with antibiotics and vaccinated. One of the discharged persons - a girl from a family of reindeer herders - was taken by helicopter to a temporary accommodation center in the Yar-Sale settlement of the Yamal district. She is accompanied by governor of the Yamalo-Nenets area Dmitry Kobylkin," Khlopunova said.
According to her, 66 people remain in the infectious department of the hospital, their condition is assessed as stable. "The remaining 25 nomads have been transferred to the rehabilitation department, where they are being prepared for vaccination. Within the next three days, this group of persons will be discharged and sent to the temporary accommodation center in Yar-Sale," she added.
The anthrax diagnosis has been confirmed in 23 residents of the Yamal tundra. A total of 96 people who had been evacuated from the infection center, including more than 50 children are now undergoing treatment in the Salekhard regional hospital. All of them are showing good signs. Doctors have been monitoring their condition round the clock.
On Monday, August 1, the governor’s press service reported that eight reindeer-breeders, including children, from the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region had tested positive for anthrax. The deadly disease claimed the life of a 12-year-old youngster.
On Tuesday, Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova, who arrived in Salekhard, the administrative center of the area, told journalists that there is no threat of anthrax spreading from the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous area to other Russian regions. According to her, "the situation is under control and we hope it soon stabilizes and the outbreak subsides."
"They (servicemen of the Russian nuclear, biological and chemical defense troops - TASS) have started to work. They have reported today that reindeer carcasses are being disposed in strict compliance with established procedures, with re-checks to prove the absence of Bacillus anthracis, the agent of anthrax. Medics from the emergencies ministry are also helping us. They have brought 80 multi-bed tents with folding beds, bedding sets and 80 small stoves to organize a tent camp in a clean zone," she said.
Anthrax is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Bacillus anthracis. It can be found in grass-eating wild and domestic animals, such as cows and sheep, most often in the agricultural regions of Asia, Africa, South America and parts of Europe (southern and eastern). There are effective vaccines against anthrax, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.
Authorities imposed quarantine measures in Yamal on July 25 because of the anthrax outbreak that has so far killed a total of 2,300 reindeer. According to the local administration, the cause of the outbreak was the extreme warm weather spell affecting Russia’s Far North. Anthrax was last recorded in Yamal 75 years ago, back in 1941.