An anthrax epidemic in Heilongjiang province, which has infected 14 people, is under control, and all patients are in stable condition, according to a release from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Heilongjiang on Friday.
As of Thursday evening, 13 of the 14 patients were receiving hospital treatment in the provincial capital of Harbin and the cities of Jiamusi and Jixi. The other patient has been discharged from the hospital after recovery, according to the commission.
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal and it mainly affects animals.
According to an expert with the commission, the anthrax outbreak in the province is limited to cutaneous anthrax, which has a low death rate. Immediate treatment is often effective.
On Tuesday, the Heilongjiang Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau received a report from the animal epidemic prevention and control center of Hua'nan county, saying seven sheep had died of unknown causes at a farm in the county from July 29 to Aug 7.There were also five sheep presenting symptoms of suspected anthrax.
Experts from the province's animal epidemic prevention and control center concluded on Wednesday after consultation that the sheep were infected with anthrax.
At the same time, a total of 14 residents in the counties of Hua'nan and Yilan and the city of Qitaihe were reported to be infected with anthrax.
The provincial government immediately sent health experts to the three places.
Instructed by experts, 818 sheep in the counties of Hua'nan and Yilan were killed and buried.
Professionals have disinfected 2,278 farms with an area of 822,700 square meters in the two counties.
Nearly 10,000 livestock within the farms were immunized to forestall an anthrax outbreak, according to official releases.
Experts said that the best way to prevent infection is to avoid contact with affected livestock. Meat from animals that have died of anthrax must not be eaten.