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Source and risk factors of a cutaneous anthrax outbreak, Jiangsu, Eastern China, 2012

  • J. L. HU (a1), L. L. CUI (a2) (a3), C. J. BAO (a1), Z. M. TAN (a1), S. RUTHERFORD (a4), L. YING (a5), M. L. ZHANG (a6) and F. C. ZHU (a7)...

Summary

Anthrax is still a severe public health problem and threat to human health. A cutaneous anthrax outbreak occurred in Jiangsu Province, a non-endemic anthrax region of eastern China, from July to August 2012. Epidemiological and laboratory investigation were initiated to trace the source of infection and identify the risk factors of the outbreak. On 25 July 2012, 17 persons were exposed to a sick cow, which had been imported from northeast China a few days previously. Of the 17 exposed, eight developed symptoms between 1 and 8 days and were diagnosed as cutaneous anthrax cases. Three main genes of Bacillus anthracis were detected from both human and cow meat samples, indicating that the outbreak was associated with this infected cow. A retrospective cohort study showed that contact with blood and presence of skin damage contributed to the case infection with B. anthracis. The outbreak highlights the need to enhance quarantine for imported livestock, which should have been vaccinated prior to importation, the significance of education for high-risk individuals, and training for primary healthcare workers even in anthrax-free areas.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr C. J. Bao, Department of Acute Infectious Diseases Control and Prevention, Jiangsu Province Center for Disease Control and Prevention, No. 172, Jiangsu Road, Nanjing 210009, People's Republic of China. (Email: bao2000_cn@163.com)

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† These authors contributed equally to this work.

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References

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