UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – An anthrax epidemic has killed more than 50 animals in the Hautes-Alpes since June, AFP reported. According to the Regional Health Agency, more than a hundred people came into contact with animals infected with this disease transmissible to humans.
More than 50 animals have been killed since the end of June by anthrax – a disease caused by spores that may remain inactive for decades in the soil – in the department of Hautes-Alpes , AFP informed.
The first case was observed on June 28 in the French town of Montgardin when six cows were found dead. Anthrax causes a deadly death in cattle, most often in less than 24 hours. The infected animal presents in particular abdominal swelling and haemorrhages at the natural orifices.
Local authorities are undertaking a series of measures to limit the spread of the disease. According to Serge Cavalli, deputy director of the departmental direction of protection of populations, the prefecture “prescribes the vaccination of all the animals concerned”.
Nevertheless, veterinarians are facing a temporary shortage of vaccines following the closure in August of the Spanish laboratory that produces them.
According to the regional health agency (ARS), this disease is transmissible to humans, but these cases are extremely rare. To date no patient has been detected in the Hautes-Alpes. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food states that contamination in humans can be caused by contact or ingestion of infected animals.
In the Hautes-Alpes, 103 people who were “potentially in contact” with the disease were identified by the ARS. Half benefit from preventive antibiotic treatment.
Since 1999, more than one hundred cases of anthrax have been recorded in France.