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7 hospitalised with suspected anthrax symptoms in Andhra’s Chittoor district

The seven affected villagers had been visiting the nearby primary health centre at Karvetinagaram where they allegedly failed to receive treatment for the last few days.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2018 23:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Vijayawada
Anthrax,Andhra Pradesh,Chittoor
Six of the villagers from Kodandaramapuram under Karvetinagaram mandal, who complained of dysentery, were discharged after receiving treatment at the primary health centre at Puttoor town. They also had blisters on their body, said the doctor who treated them at the health centre.(HT File Photo/Representative image)

Seven people were hospitalised with symptoms similar to that of anthrax infection after eating the meat of dead animals in a village in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh on Friday, officials said.

Six of the villagers from Kodandaramapuram under Karvetinagaram mandal, who complained of dysentery, were discharged after receiving treatment at the primary health centre at Puttoor town. They also had blisters on their body, said the doctor who treated them at the health centre.

One of the affected, 54-year-old Anandaiah, complained of infection in his gastrointestinal system after consuming the meat, the doctor said. He was shifted to Ramnarayan Rua Hospital in Tirupati as his condition was serious, said a handout of the department of information and public relations.

The seven affected villagers had been visiting the nearby primary health centre at Karvetinagaram where they allegedly failed to receive treatment for the last few days. The issue came to the fore when they went to the centre at Puttoor on Friday.

Mayo Clinic says anthrax is a “rare but serious illness caused by a spore-forming bacterium, Bacillus anthracis”. The potentially deadly infectious disease “mainly affects livestock and wild game” and “humans can become infected through direct or indirect contact with sick animals”, it adds. The infection can occur through a cut in the skin, breathing in anthrax spores or eating tainted meat.

The district administration later released a handout citing the superintendent of Rua Hospital Sidda Naik as saying that Anandaiah tested positive for cerebral malaria, but not anthrax and his condition is stable.

Venkataraman, joint director of the animal husbandry in Chittoor district, said a medical camp was set up in Harijanawada, a hamlet of Kodandaramapuram, and a team from his department vaccinated the livestock 10 days ago as a precautionary measure after the death of several animals.

Some of the villagers extracted meat from the dead animals, dried it and preserved for consumption in the following days, he said. An official of the animal husbandry department said at least 18 cattle died in the past 15 days at Harijanawada.

Districts officials had to deploy police to persuade villagers to throw away the stored dried meat from their homes on Friday, Venkataraman said.

Three people died of anthrax at TKP Puram, 3km away from Kodandaramapuram of the same mandal, in 2000. Three years later, an incidence of anthrax was reported at Jandrapalli in the nearby Vedurukuppam mandal but there was no casualty.

First Published: Oct 26, 2018 23:02 IST