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10 die of anthrax in Orissa

At least 10 people have died of anthrax over the past one month in Orissa's impoverished districts of Koraput and Kalahandi, say officials.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2007 14:51 IST

At least 10 people have died of anthrax over the past one month in Orissa's impoverished districts of Koraput and Kalahandi, officials said on Wednesday.

Four people in Maskapadar village of Kalahandi district, about 500 kms from the state capital, died of anthrax last week, chief district medical officer Srinibas Naik told IANS. Late May six people had died of the infection.

He said they fell ill after eating stale meat of a dead buffalo. At least seven people from the same village were also infected with anthrax but all of them are out of danger after treatment.

A team of health officials is camping in the village and persuading people not to consume meat. The district veterinary officials have also injected over 20,000 cattle with anthrax vaccines so that they can be protected from the infection, said Naik.

In the last week of May, six people died of anthrax infection in neighbouring Koraput district, about 500 kms from Bhubaneswar, joint director of the state surveillance cell, Bikas Patnaik said.

Anthrax usually affects cattle but passes on to humans if they eat contaminated meat. The disease, if not diagnosed early, can be fatal.