Bhopal. At least 50 cattle are reported to have died in Madhya Pradesh due to anthrax since December, officials said Saturday.
Anthrax, an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, was first reported in the state in Bori Sanctuary in Hoshangabad district in 2002 when it caused the death of several wild buffalo.
"It occurs most commonly in wild and domestic lower vertebrates like cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes, and other herbivores and can also occur in humans when they are exposed to infected animals or tissue from infected animals," said P.K. Sharma, posted at the government veterinary hospital here.
"Animal disease investigation laboratory at Jabalpur which conducted the tests on cattle samples sent from Kartaj village (of Narsinhpur district) has confirmed the presence of Anthrax," Sharma said.
Health officials said that the first death due to suspected anthrax occurred in Kartaj village in December last year.
Since then around 50 cattle, including cows, bulls and calves, have died.
"Cattle in the area were vaccinated soon after the first death due to suspected anthrax. Later a major vaccination drive was launched on February 28," Sharma said, adding the number of deaths continued to rise with cattle showing typical symptoms of the disease.
"The cattle have been vaccinated once again on April 7. The test reports from Jabalpur and fresh tissue samples have now been sent to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal," he said.