Health officials have reported an anthrax outbreak in Jalal-Abad in western Kyrgyzstan on July 10. According to local sources, 11 people were hospitalized with suspected anthrax contamination. Days earlier, a case of bovine anthrax was confirmed in the Bazar-Korgon Rayon area. Authorities have implemented public health measures, including the killing of infected animals, to prevent further spread of the disease.
Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis bacteria and can be deadly, although not easily spread. Symptoms of anthrax contamination include small blisters grouped together, swelling, skin sores, fever, chills, nausea, and body aches. It largely survives as spores that can lie dormant in soil for years before entering an animal through a cut or wound. Most frequently, the infection results from exposure to spores from infected animals, dead or alive, or products from infected animals. Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics, but treatment must start soon after infection.
Individuals in the area are advised to comply with all government recommendations and to take measures to avoid the risk of contamination (e.g., do not eat beef or mutton meat). Seek immediate medical attention if any of the abovementioned symptoms are exhibited during or after travel in areas affected by the outbreak.
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