MOSCOW, August 6 (RIA Novosti) – Local authorities in southern Russia’s North Caucasus region have issued an emergency notice after two people were diagnosed with the largely animal-borne infectious disease anthrax, the regional emergencies ministry has said.
The local emergencies ministry went public about the infection on Monday after the diagnoses of two people hospitalized on Friday with anthrax-like symptoms were confirmed.
Local TV reports Tuesday cite a Stavropol Territory veterinary official as confirming that the two people infected are related, and that the source of the infection is thought to be on their land.
The emergencies ministry has set up temporary operational headquarters at the site of the outbreak, the village of Solnechnopodolsk in the Stavropol Territory, and is advising locals to exert caution in buying meat, local media report.
In March, Russia’s emergencies ministry warned about the risk of an anthrax outbreak in five of the country’s eight federal districts. The North Caucasus was among the regions listed as “at risk.”
The ministry explained that this was due to the “insufficient immunization” of farm animals and agricultural workers, and to unregistered burial sites for contaminated livestock.
People can be exposed to anthrax by handling or eating infected animal products, and also through inhalation, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration site says.