The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Anthrax district gears up for scare control

Behrampore, July 24: Teams from the animal resources and health departments fanned out in Murshidabad’s Domkol a day after a girl died of Anthrax, a cattle-borne disease, and many more were reported ill.

Yesterday, Madina Khatun died in Dakshin Garibpur village, about 245 km from Calcutta, where at least nine persons were identified as suffering from anthrax. Today, a medical team went there and collected blood samples from more than a hundred people.

The district health department had no information about the latest outbreak of Anthrax till Khatun died.

In May, 20 cases of Anthrax were reported from the same area but there were no deaths. Meat of infected cows led to the outbreak then.

The cow meat the villagers consumed on July 14 was also anthrax infected. Symptoms of the disease started appearing from July 21.

Zilla parishad sabhadhipati Siddiqa Begum said she was concerned. “I have asked the health and animal resources department officials to meet me so that we can chalk out a strategy to control the disease. We can also ban the consumption of beef for the time being so that we have time to isolate the infected animals,” she said.

Murshidabad’s chief medical officer of health Bijon Mondol visited Dakshin Garibpur today and oversaw the blood sample collection.

“The blood tests will indicate whether other people have been infected. Health workers are monitoring the situation there. We might have to shift two or three patients to the district hospital here,” said Mondol.

Animal resources department officials conceded today that they had no information about the spread of the disease in Domkol. The department’s deputy director, Manik Chandra Das, said he got to know about it from newspapers this morning. “We have sent a team of veterinarians to the villages and the cattle in the area are being vaccinated against anthrax. Our men are working on a war footing,” Das said.

The team from his department announced over loudspeakers today that it was dangerous to eat the meat of an ill cow or goat. Das alleged: “The disease has been brought here by the cattle that are herded from villages in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh by clandestine routes on their way to Bangladesh.”

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