A quarantine has been imposed in Siberia where the potentially fatal disease anthrax has broken out for the first time in 75 years.
The disease has already claimed the life of a 12-year-old boy, who died after being evacuated to a hospital in Salekhard. More than 90 other people, over half of them children, have been hospitalised with fears they have been infected with the disease. However, most of the people have returned negative results in tests for anthrax. Vaccinations are being carried out by medics in the affected Yamalo-Nenetsky region, and they say that the outbreak is controlled.
“From day one we’ve been walking the extra mile and doing everything possible to save every life. But the infection has proven to be insidious,” said Governor Dmitry Kobylkin.
“It returned after 75 years and claimed a child’s life.”
Heatwaves are believed to be the cause behind this outbreak, defrosting the dormant bacteria that remained in buried human, reindeer and doe corpses dating to the last outbreak. Reindeer grazing in the area where the bacteria was found were the first affected, before passing the disease along. Anthrax is passed along through spores in the air, eating infected meat, or having broken skin come into contact animal products or carcasses. Russia has sent troops trained for biological warfare to the contagion area who have disposed of animal carcasses and are eradicating pests such as rats which can spread the disease. Immunisation has begun for residents and vaccinations for livestock will follow after.
The disease is fatal if left untreated with antibiotics. Symptoms of anthrax often take two to three days before they begin to show. – Jessica Holmes
Screengrab of Russian medics wearing protective clothing from RT’s Youtube Account.