Anthrax panic in Istanbul
Following the deaths from anthrax of cattle in Ankara and Sivas after Eid al-Adha, the disease has this time been detected in people in Istanbul. Many people have applied to Bakırköy Dr Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital and Haseki Training and Research Hospital on suspicion of having contracted anthrax.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli stated in connection with the matter: “Twenty-two people have applied on suspicion of having contracted anthrax. Some of them have been discharged. The private undertaking from which the meat originated has been placed under quarantine. The enterprise in Silivri from which our animal was bought is a private undertaking. There are seven animals at the undertaking and the other animals are healthy. The animals are not imported animals. Within a ten-kilometre radius of the undertaking from which the animals were bought, 3,500 animals will be inoculated by way of precaution as of tomorrow. Since the inoculation takes very speedy effect we do not expect to see other anthrax cases in the region.”
A Bakırköy Dr Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital employee who did not wish to give their name, in turn, said that twenty-five people had applied on suspicion of having contracted anthrax. Stating that two people had been discharged yesterday following treatment, they indicated that many people were being kept under observation.
Meat changed colour
The nine people who went to Haseki Training and Research Hospital are said to have applied to the hospital on becoming suspicious at the colour of the meat from which they had eaten changing colour. It has been ascertained that nine people are also undergoing treatment at Haseki Training and Research Hospital.
“They buried the meat along with the fridge”
Commenting to our newspaper’s reporter, relatives of the quarantined Büker family, residents of Büyükçekmece, said that they had bought the cow from Silivri and the sacrificial meat had been buried along with the fridge by the Sub-Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Husbandry.
How does it spread?
Anthrax is an infectious disease seen in grazing animals caused by the bacteria named bacillus anthracis. It spreads from animals to humans by contact with wounds on the animal, eating the animal’s meat and inhaling anthrax spores in the vicinity of diseased animals. Anthrax is divided into the three groups of cutaneous, pulmonary and gastrointestinal. Fatal results may ensue from pulmonary and gastrointestinal infection. The chances of anthrax spreading from person to person, however, are very low.
Wounds appeared on their bodies
Two cows died within a twenty-day interval in the village of Karadoruk in Sivas’s Gürün Sub-Province. Three people from the same family, one of them a child, who came into the contact with the cows’ blood, were treated in hospital for various wounds that appeared on their bodies.
Of four thousand cattle that were brought from Brazil for sacrificial slaughter by the Meat and Milk Board to a private farm in Ankara’s Gölbaşı, nearly 150 died of anthrax last Monday, and ten thousand animals situated in three neighbourhoods were inoculated for anthrax. A notice reading, “Anthrax is present in this neighbourhood” was posted at the entrance to the farm on 28 August, and the farm was quarantined.
STATEMENT FROM MINISTER PAKDEMİRLİ
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli has made a statement in connection with the matter. Appearing live on a TV station, Pakdemirli said the following on a live broadcast:
“Our citizens in Büyükçekmece’s Silivri Quarter bought a sacrificial animal from a private undertaking. They slaughtered the animal and also consumed up to two or three kilos of the meat. With the meat smelling, they applied to the Pendik Veterinary Research Institute on 28 August. The result of their application came on 31 August. Anthrax was detected in the meat. The meat was immediately destroyed by our ministry’s staff. The Sub-Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Forestry informed the Ministry of Health. Twenty-eight people were detected to have come into contact with the meat. Twenty-two people have made it to hospital. The process of getting some of them to hospital is continuing. Of the twenty-two people, thirteen have applied to Bakırköy Dr Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital and nine to Haseki Training and Research Hospital. Six of the people who applied to Bakırköy Dr Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital were discharged immediately. Four of our citizens are suspected of having cutaneous anthrax on their hands and wrists. Advanced diagnosis is needed. Three people are also being kept at this hospital of ours as a precaution.
ANTHRAX SUSPECTED IN FOUR OF THE TWENTY-TWO PEOPLE
Of the nine people who applied to our Haseki hospital, eight have been discharged. One of our patients has symptoms of pharyngitis. The possibility is being entertained that four of the total of twenty-two people who applied may have contracted anthrax.
“WE DO NOT EXPECT OTHER CASES”
Seven animals have been found positive for anthrax at the undertaking in Silivri from which the animal was bought. The other animals are healthy. The animals are domestically bred animals. Within a ten-kilometre radius of the location of the undertaking, 3,500 animals will be inoculated by way of precaution as of tomorrow. Since the inoculation takes very speedy effect we do not expect other anthrax cases.
“OUR CITIZENS CAN EAT MEAT WITH PEACE OF MIND”
Our ministry, as before, is speedily taking precautions. Our citizens can eat meat with peace of mind.”
STATEMENT FROM HEALTH MINISTER FAHRETTİN KOCA
A statement in connection with the matter has also come from Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
The statement included the comments, “As is known, the public has been informed by our Ministry of Agriculture that anthrax was detected in a sacrificial animal slaughtered in Silivri on 31 August.
Twenty-two people detected to have come into contact with the animal stated to have had anthrax were invited to our hospitals for treatment and examination purposes. The necessary examinations were made of these people and in six cases light skin lesions were observed. The necessary treatment was arranged for these cases. This type of anthrax that evolves through skin lesions which can spread to humans from animals is a treatable disease that poses no risk of fatality.
No findings were made in the other cases that were examined. Meanwhile, while there are isolated applications to our hospitals on suspicion of having made contact with the same meat, no case inviting suspicion has been detected from among these applications.
There exists no risk of fatality for these patients of ours.