Thailand on anthrax alert after Laos outbreak sparks fear

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Thailand is on high alert as anthrax fears surge following a deadly outbreak in neighbouring Laos, warns government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke today.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin directed Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew to intensify preventive measures, especially in border areas, in response to the escalating threat.

Srettha asserted that increased monitoring is crucial to safeguard the health of Thai citizens, expressing gratitude to the relevant agencies for their proactive measures.

The urgency mounts as Laos grapples with its latest anthrax outbreak, reportedly affecting over 54 patients and claiming the lives of numerous cattle this month alone.

Related news

Anthrax, a highly contagious disease primarily afflicting cattle, poses a significant risk to human health, transmitted by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria.

Coordinating efforts, the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control, alongside local agencies, amplifies surveillance across human and animal populations, particularly in border regions, affirms Chai.

Immediate reporting of any suspected anthrax cases to provincial health offices is paramount, urges Chai. Residents are cautioned to report any abnormal illnesses or deaths among cows or buffaloes, refrain from contact with deceased animals and abstain from their consumption.

Individuals with potential exposure to sick animals are advised to seek medical attention upon experiencing unusual symptoms, reported The Nation.

Reassuringly, Chai notes Thailand’s absence of anthrax cases since 2001, underscoring the nation’s commitment to averting a resurgence.

ORIGINAL STORY: Buriram issues health alert over anthrax after Laos cases

The province of Buriram in Thailand issued a health warning over the threat of anthrax, a severe bacterial disease, following the identification of three cases in neighbouring Laos. The disease, which can spread from animals to humans, particularly through the consumption of raw bovine and buffalo meat, prompted heightened surveillance and precautionary measures.

Today, the provincial livestock office, led by veterinarian Apichat Suwanchairob, emphasized the need for vigilance against anthrax, which has not been reported in Thailand for an extended period. The bacteria Bacillus anthracis causes severe symptoms in infected animals, and farmers are advised to seek veterinary assistance if they notice unusual lesions or behaviours in their livestock.

The disease manifests with a high fever in animals and can result in death, accompanied by blood discharge from various orifices that do not clot. In light of this, the authorities have stressed the importance of not slaughtering animals without professional supervision, as improper handling of infected carcasses can lead to the spread of the disease.

Moreover, in response to the cases found in Laos on March 7, the Department of Livestock Development has stepped up its border controls to prevent the illegal import of live cattle, buffalo, goats, and sheep, as well as other animal products. Farmers are encouraged to administer vaccines to their herds and to notify authorities of any suspected animal deaths, reported KhaoSod.

In Buriram, despite the absence of recent anthrax cases, the tradition of consuming raw and partially cooked meat dishes like larb remains popular. The news of the outbreak has raised concerns among the local community and has led to a more cautious approach to sourcing meat. Residents now prefer to buy from certified butchers to minimise the risk of infection.

Bangkok NewsHealthPolitics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

Related Articles