As of yesterday, 30 patients, 3 of which have been confirmed, in Haicheng City and Xiuyan County of Liaoning Province, were admitted to local hospitals with symptoms of cutaneous anthrax. All sick residents became infected after having recently slaughtered anthrax-infected cows. All sick animals were traced back to one village in Haicheng City where there had previously been an anthrax outbreak among animals. In the preliminary investigation, 4 sick animals were found, 2 of which died. Currently, no deaths have occurred and all patients are being treated at their local hospitals.
Anthrax is a common bacterial infection among hoofed-animals, but humans can become infected after close contact with sick animals or upon being exposed through 3 main routes – open wound, inhalation, or consumption of tainted meat. Cutaneous anthrax is relatively mild and individuals infected usually develop a sore or blister. Inhalation anthrax and gastrointestinal anthrax may lead to internal bleeding, shock, and tissue death.