WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024

Anthrax outbreak affects 54 in Laos, Thailand on high alert

Anthrax outbreak affects 54 in Laos, Thailand on high alert

Thailand is on a high alert for anthrax following an outbreak in neighbouring Laos, government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has instructed Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew to closely follow the situation and increase preventive measures, particularly in border areas, he said.

“The prime minister thanked the relevant agencies for helping ensure the good health of Thai people".

Increased monitoring of anthrax came after the latest outbreak in Laos, which reportedly affected at least 54 patients, along with several deaths of cattle this month.

Anthrax is a highly infectious animal disease, especially for cattle, and can be transmitted to people. It is an acute bacterial infection caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control has coordinated with local agencies to increase surveillance of the disease for both humans and animals, especially in border areas, said Chai.

Any patients with symptoms consistent with anthrax need to be immediately reported to the provincial public health offices for disease investigation, he said.

Residents are advised to report any case of cows or buffaloes falling ill or dying abnormally. The spokesperson said they should avoid touching the dead cattle, moving their carcasses, or butchering them for consumption. Those with a history of contact with sick animals who go on to develop unusual symptoms are advised to see a doctor.

Thailand has had no reports of anthrax cases since 2001, according to Chai.