Forty more people are reported to have been infected with anthrax in last 24 hours in a single village at Ullapara upazila in Sirajganj, according to the upazila health office.
This is the second consecutive incident of anthrax infection to human bodies in the district in a couple of weeks. As many as 87 people have so far been infected, according to the district health office.
The number of probable cases may increase as many people have reportedly come in contact with infected animals or contaminated meat, health officials say.
“Three sick animals were butchered in Koroi Shartoil village last week. Villagers bought the meat of the animals at cheap rates and got infected after consuming the meat,” Dr Sukumar Roy, upazila health and family planning officer, said.
A medical team visited the village on Sunday, identified the 40 affected people and gave them necessary treatment. The medical team is working in the village to find out more probable cases, he added.
Of the infected, Md Adi Ahmed, Hazrat Ali and Shahed Ali are allegedly responsible for the recent outbreak, according to upazila health complex and upazila livestock officials.
“They slaughtered three infected animals last week and sold the meat among villagers. The people who came in contact with that meat have been infected,” Dr Sukumar observed.
The live stock department has started a vaccination programme for the animals in the affected village and a team is also working to monitor the situation.
Talking to The Daily Star, Md Humayun Kabir, statistics officer of the Civil Surgeon's Office in Sirajganj, said this is the second consecutive outbreak of anthrax in the district. As many as 87 people in three upazilas have so far been infected in the last couple of weeks, he added.
Earlier, 47 people in Shahjadpur and Kamarkhand upazilas were infected from animals a couple of weeks ago. Of them, 29 were infected in Jamtoil village of Kamarkhand upazila and 18 were infected in Koizuri village of Shahjadpur upazila of the district between May 5 and May 10, he added.
Civil Surgeon Shahed Mohammad Sadekul Islam said apart from providing treatment to the affected, the district health office has also started generating awareness among the locals. He suggested that people should avoid slaughtering any sick animals as well as consuming their meat.
Anthrax is an infection caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. It is a common livestock disease. Symptoms begin between one day and two months after contacting the infection.
Immunising animals against anthrax is recommended in areas where there is a history of previous infections. The disease can be transmitted to humans if people get them exposed to infectious cattle or consume meat of any butchered infected animals.