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Anthrax outbreak in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Two affected buffaloes died

Anthrax outbreak in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Two affected buffaloes died

Tag: GS 3 || Environment || Biodiversity || Animal Diversity

Why In News?

Veterinarians have confirmed anthrax as the cause of death of two Asiatic water buffaloes in central Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.

What is Anthrax?

  • Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis which can be found naturally in soil.
  • It can occur in four forms: skin, lungs, intestinal, and injection.
  • It is characterized by blisters around swellings on the skin, chest pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.
  • It commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world. Cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and deer can become infected when they breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water.
  • People can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
  • Contact with anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals. Anthrax is not contagious, which means you can’t catch it like the cold or flu.

 Symptoms & Infection:

  • Respiratory infection in humans initially presents with cold or flu-like symptoms for seven days, followed by pneumonia and severe (and often fatal) respiratory collapse.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) infectionin humans is most often caused by consuming anthrax-infected meat and is characterized by serious GI difficulty, vomiting of blood, severe diarrhoea, acute inflammation of the intestinal tract, and loss of appetite.
  • Cutaneous anthrax, also known as Hide porter’s disease,is the cutaneous (on the skin) manifestation of anthrax infection in humans.
  • Affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats more often than people. People can get anthrax from contact with infected animals, wool, meat, or hides.


  • The standard treatment for anthrax is a 60-day course of an antibiotic. Treatment is most effective when started as soon as possible.
  • Although some cases of anthrax respond to antibiotics, advanced inhalation anthrax may not. By the later stages of the disease, the bacteria have often produced more toxins than drugs can eliminate.

 Use in Bioterrorism:

  • Anthrax has been used in biological warfare by agents and by terrorists to intentionally infect.
  • It was spread in US through a mail. It killed 5 people and made 22 sick.
  • DRDO, JNU scientists develop more potent Anthrax vaccine.Claim new vaccine superior than existing ones as it can generate immune response to anthraxtoxin as well as spores.

Anthrax Vaccine

  • Indian scientists have developed a new vaccine against anthrax. It is claimed to be superior over existing vaccines as it can generate an immune response to anthrax toxin as well as its spores rather than the toxin alone.
  • The anti-anthrax vaccines available in market generate protein-protective antigen immune response against a Bacillus— a protein that helps in transport of bacillus toxins inside the cells.