Tests on carcasses of boars confirm disease
The Health Department has sounded an alert on the consumption and handling of meat as the tests conducted on carcasses of wild boars found on the premises of the Kerala Police Academy here have confirmed anthrax.
According to the District Medical Officer A. S. Surendran human beings may contract the disease by handling infected animals, inhaling anthrax spores or eating undercooked meat of affected animals.
Carcasses of two wild boars were found on the campus of the academy at Ramavarmapuram last week. Last year, the carcasses of seven wild boars, an eagle and a toddy cat were found on the academy campus.
According to the Animal Husbandry Department sources, the wild boars must have got infected from the anthrax spores that remained active in the soil. Bacillus anthracis spores can live in soil for years. The veterinary experts, however, suspect that the wild bores may have been infected from the animal waste often dumped in the forest areas.
The entry of infected animals from neighbouring states through illegal routes is a real concern, they add. There were some unconfirmed reports that cadavers of some pigs were found in Puthur area two weeks ago. Anthrax, caused by the spore-forming bacteria Bacillus Anthracis, affects wild and domestic lower vertebrates (cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes and other herbivores).
The affected animals run a high temperature, then collapse and die. Heavy bleeding is found in orifices in the carcasses.
“Affected human beings may show cutaneous, intestinal or respiratory symptoms. The respiratory symptoms may progress from those of a common cold to severe breathing problems,” says Dr. Surendran.
The intestinal infection may occur due to consumption of contaminated meat. It will cause acute inflammation of the intestinal track.
Symptoms include nausea, severe diarrhoea with blood and vomiting.
Cutaneous infections occur when bacterium enters a cut or burn on the skin while handing the meet or skin of the infected animal.
The Animal Husbandry Department sources say that there is no cause for alarm. “Precautionary measures have been made to control the disease. Animals in the nearby areas of the academy have been immunised,” they add.