The Agency areas of Visakhapatnam district continue to report cases of cutaneous anthrax.
The Times of India reported that the tendency of the anthrax bacteria to stay in the soil for long, is making the tribals prone to such cases.
"The commonest form of anthrax reported in Agency areas is cutaneous (skin) anthrax. The disease is not life-threatening and treatment with antibiotics usually cures the person within a week or so. Accordingly, around 10,000 animals would be vaccinated in the vulnerable villages of Araku and Chintapalle mandals," Dr Kalyan Prasad, medical officer for Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) from the district medical and health office (DMHO) told ToI.
Anthrax cases are reported from Vizag's Agency areas like Chintapalli, Munchingput and Araku almost every year, as it consists of a large tribal population that live in remote areas, with no proper connectivity to health care facilities.
Cutaneous anthrax, or skin anthrax, is the most common form of the disease and is contacted by the person when he/she has a break in their skin and comes in contact with anthrax spores. This is common for people who work with anthrax-infected animals or even when they handle contaminated wool, hide or hair of the animal.
Cutaneous anthrax is also the least dangerous, with 20% chances of it being fatal if untreated.
In October this year, Anantapur's Government General Hospital (GGH) set-up an isolated ward, after three people showed symptoms of the disease.
In June this year, five patients in Andhra, undergoing treatment for skin infections at the King George Hospital (KGH) in Visakhapatnam.
During the outbreak in June, the soil around Kodipunjuvalasa, one of the worst-affected areas, was tested. All Primary Health Care Centres in the Agency areas were also converted to 24-hour hospitals. Vaccination drives were also conducted, along with Animal Husbandry Department planning to ensure the disease is contained among animals.