|Anthrax around the world|
May 9, 2002
Here, GNN highlights six papers about Bacillus anthracis in different parts of the world related to the feature Florida Anthrax Bacterium Sequenced.
Although livestock anthrax is declining in many parts of the world, with an increasing number of countries probably truly free of the disease, anthrax remains enzootic in many national parks and even in some game ranching areas. These infected areas can present a persistent risk to surrounding livestock, which may otherwise be free of the disease, as well as a public health risk. The authors use as examples the national parks in southern Africa, the Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, Canada, and the deer ranching counties in south-west Texas, United States of America, to present the range of problems, epidemiology, and control procedures. While many advances have been achieved in the understanding of this disease, research is required into the genotypic grouping of anthrax isolates, improved field diagnostic techniques, and oral vaccines, as well as to provide a better understanding of spore survival in soil and the ecology of the disease under natural conditions.
Rev Sci Tech 2002 Aug;21(2):359-83.
Anthrax is sporadically seen in Turkey, especially among people who live in rural areas and who come in contact with animals. Two siblings with cutaneous anthrax are described in this report. A week before their admission to the hospital, contaminated cow's blood was smeared on their foreheads as part of a traditional ritual. Both children were successfully treated with crystalline penicillin. In developing countries, traditions such as blood smearing may be an important factor in the transmission of anthrax to children.
Pediatr Dermatol 2002 Jan-Feb;19(1):36-8.
The Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, has a recorded history of periodic anthrax epidemics causing widespread disease among wild animals. Bacillus anthracis is the causative agent of anthrax, a disease primarily affecting ungulate herbivores. Worldwide there is little diversity among B. anthracis isolates, but examination of variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) loci has identified six major clones, with the most dissimilar types split into the A and B branches. Both the A and B types are found in southern Africa, giving this region the greatest genetic diversity of B. anthracis worldwide. Consequently, southern Africa has been hypothesized to be the geographic origin of B. anthracis. In this study, we identify the genotypic types of 98 KNP B. anthracis isolates using multiple-locus VNTR analysis. Two major types are evident, the A branch and the B branch. The spatial and temporal distribution of the different genotypes indicates that anthrax epidemic foci are independent, though correlated through environmental cues. Kruger B isolates were found on significantly higher-calcium and higher-pH soils than were Kruger type A. This relationship between genotype and soil chemistry may be due to adaptive differences among divergent anthrax strains. While this association may be simply fortuitous, adaptation of A types to diverse environmental conditions is consistent with their greater geographic dispersal and genetic dissimilarity.
J Clin Microbiol 2000 Oct;38(10):3780-4.
Anthrax in Russia has for a long time posed a serious problem for public health and veterinary services. At the beginning of the century, 40-60 thousand cases of this infection were annually reported in the country in agricultural animals and about 10-20 thousand cases in people where each fourth (25%) was dying. In the Russian Federation the registration of anthrax foci is obligatory for veterinary as well as for sanitary-epidemiological services. So our initial project, funded by the International Technical and Scientific Center in Moscow, has envisaged the collection of all data of known anthrax foci, including the village name, agricultural council, region, oblast and year of occurrence. The objective is to assemble a reference handbook, "Register of stable anthrax sites in the Russian Federation", containing organized information on more than 10 000 anthrax foci occurring during the past 100 years. Such a study makes it possible to identify regions characterized by the highest concentrations of stationary anthrax sites in Russia, to identify trends in expressed activity of such sites through the periodic emergence of disease in humans and animals, and to determine the factors contributing to the formation of such trends. In doing this, it makes it possible to develop contingency plans for different risk locations (i.e. high risk of persistent infection, high risk of sporadic occurrence, low risk areas, etc.) in terms of anthrax in Russia, to identify high risk areas and develop a differentiated strategy of vaccination and other control strategies, and to develop preventive recommendations to reduce risk in high risk areas. It is now important to develop the second step of the project: to develop in depth studies of particular clusters to determine which factors are associated with Russian anthrax outbreaks. Maps will greatly enhance the value of this work in terms of spatial analysis. Furthermore, this supplementary project will allow the incorporation of powerful Geographic Information System (GIS) electronic mapping technology so that natural geographic features, such as soil type, climate, etc., can be compared with anthrax distributions in Russia using standard GIS and statistical analysis. At the present time, it is imperative to develop a detailed understanding of the world's distribution of anthrax and what geographic factors determine its prevalence.
J Appl Microbiol 1999 Aug;87(2):192-5.
Anthrax occurred on 83 properties in an area of north central Victoria between 26 January and 26 March in the summer of 1997. Anthrax had not been recorded in the outbreak area since records were initiated in 1914, although anthrax did occur in the general area in the 1880s to 1890s. Standard Australian control measures were applied to the properties, including quarantine, tracing movements of animals on and off affected properties, secure disposal of carcases by burning, enhanced surveillance of stock generally in the area and the use of local disaster control procedures including an alert of health authorities. As affected property numbers began to increase dramatically from 8 February, it was decided to use blanket area vaccination to control the disease. By 26 February, the epidemic curve had returned to the base line and a buffer vaccination zone of 457 farms holding 78,649 cattle was formed by early March 1997. Between 26 January and 26 March when the outbreak was declared over, 202 cattle and 4 sheep were confirmed to have died of anthrax. Between 27 March and early November a further 26 cattle were confirmed as dying due to anthrax and 14 of these had not had previous vaccination, including four young calves and one horse. One new property within the vaccination buffer zone had an anthrax case in a cow in early November 1997. By mid-November 1997, all previously infected and all neighbouring properties within 1 km were compulsorily re-vaccinated, as were all calves when two months of age and all introduced cattle. In 1998, only two confirmed cases of anthrax were diagnosed; both were vaccinated calves on farms which had had multiple cases during the outbreak. The public reaction and attention fueled by unprecedented media attention led to intense international scrutiny from countries where anthrax is a particular zoonotic problem. Very strong representations had to be made about the safety of livestock and livestock products that came from Victoria. This event has demonstrated that there is a need to review OIE and other requirements and recommendations covering anthrax where strict restrictions are placed on livestock and livestock products to protect livestock and human populations against anthrax infection.
J Appl Microbiol 1999 Aug;87(2):196-9.
In April and May 1979, an unusual anthrax epidemic occurred in Sverdlovsk, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Soviet officials attributed it to consumption of contaminated meat. U.S. agencies attributed it to inhalation of spores accidentally released at a military microbiology facility in the city. Epidemiological data show that most victims worked or lived in a narrow zone extending from the military facility to the southern city limit. Farther south, livestock died of anthrax along the zone's extended axis. The zone paralleled the northerly wind that prevailed shortly before the outbreak. It is concluded that the escape of an aerosol of anthrax pathogen at the military facility caused the outbreak.
Science 1994 Nov 18;266(5188):1202-8.
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