On Monday, August 19, health officials in Kazakhstan reported an anthrax outbreak in the village of Olginka (Akmola province), east of the capital Nur-Sultan. Five people have been hospitalized with anthrax symptoms as of Monday, four of whom have tested positive for Bacillus anthracis. The village has been under quarantine since Saturday, August 17, in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.
Anthrax is caused by the 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). 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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