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Five people hospitalized with suspected anthrax in Dagestan

According to the republic's Health Ministry, the patients are likely to have been infected while slaughtering and butchering livestock

MAKHACHKALA, October 26. /TASS/. Five people were taken to hospital in the village of Kakamakhi, Russia’s North Caucasian Republic of Dagestan, with suspected Siberian plague, the republic’s Health Ministry said on Monday.

"Five suspected anthrax cases were registered in the village of Kakamakhi in a period from October 24 to 26. All the patients have been taken to hospital and placed in an isolated ward," the ministry said, adding that all the five are in a moderately severe condition, having skin symptoms.

The situation has been taken under personal control of Dagestan’s Health Minister Dzhamaludin Gadzhiibragimov, who visited the patients in the hospital on Sunday. "It is important to prevent the spread of the infection," he was quoted as saying. "It is important to make people pay more attention to changes in their health so that they consult a doctor in case of having any skin rashes."

According to the ministry, the patients are likely to have been infected while slaughtering and butchering livestock. An epidemic probe is underway. Fourteen contacts of the infected have been established. They will be under medical supervision for eight days.

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). Diseased animals can spread anthrax to humans, either by direct contact (e.g., inoculation of infected blood to broken skin) or by consumption of a diseased animal's flesh. Anthrax does not spread directly from one infected animal or person to another; it is spread by spores. These spores can be transported by clothing or shoes. There are effective vaccines against anthrax, and some forms of the disease respond well to antibiotic treatment.

The latest anthrax case was registered in Dagestan in October 2019 when the diagnosis was confirmed in four out of five residents of the village of Novokuli who had been hospitalized with suspected anthrax.