YEREVAN, October 7. /ARKA /. Fifteen people in Armenia’s northern and north-western regions of Lori and Shirak were hospitalized after local health authorities suspected they were infected with anthrax, the health ministry said.
According to a statement placed on the ministry’s official website, three people in the village Artagyuh, Lori region, were found on October 4 to have cutaneous (skin) anthrax. This made health authorities to examine the village residents to discover eight more people suspected to be infected with disease. Lab tests confirmed that seven of them had cutaneous anthrax. The ministry said laboratory investigations are continuing.
It said these people were hospitalized and are receiving appreciate treatment. The doctors said their condition is moderate with an improvement trend.
A deeper study found that the probable cause of the infection was eating the meat of dead animals. Part of that meat was sent to Gyumri.
A subsequent study in Gyumri found four people suspected to be infected with anthrax. They were hospitalized; the laboratory research has not yet been completed. The ministry said its experts are working to detect and localize people with anthrax.
Before that the skin form of anthrax was discovered in Armenia in March 2013 with two people. One of them was a citizen of Georgia.
Several cases of animals with anthrax were reported in 2012 October in Gegharkunik province. This was followed by hospitalization of 21 people with symptoms of the disease. Laboratory studies confirmed the presence of anthrax in one of them. In early November last year the disease was detected in a resident of Ushi village in Aragatsotn. Reports about anthrax-infected animals came also from Tavush and Armavir regions.
Anthrax is an infection caused by bacteria (a type of germ) called Bacillus anthracis. These bacteria make spores, a form of the germ covered by a protective shell. The spores can live for years in the soil, and they cause anthrax when they enter the body. Although the disease is most common in farm animals — like sheep, cows, and goats — there’s a small chance that people can get it as well, usually from some type of contact with an animal or part of an animal that had anthrax.