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DOH: Anthrax doesn’t spread like flu

by Carl Santos

THE Department of Health said on Saturday that the Philippines was monitoring the situation in other countries that have reported anthrax cases.

This came after Thailand ordered a close watch on livestock on Thursday after an outbreak of anthrax in neighboring Laos, where more than 50 suspected human cases have been reported.

Media in secretive, communist Laos have reported 65 suspected cases, including 54 in southern Champasak province, which borders Thailand.

Anthrax, which spreads through bacteria in soil, commonly infects grazing livestock and wild animals but can also infect humans and be deadly in some cases.

However, the DOH said ”anthrax does not spread from person to person like colds or the flu.”

”Animals like livestock are the ones most affected. The risk of the general public getting infected by anthrax is very low,” it said in a statement.

”Veterinarians, farmers, livestock personnel, and other workers who handle animals and their products may have a higher risk. Because the risk is specific to certain populations and occupations, available vaccines for anthrax are not used for the general population.”

To prevent infection, the DOH urged the public to avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or meat products, as well as contact with livestock or animal remains.

The DOH said it would also coordinate with the Department of Agriculture for ”preventive measures for animals, including livestock.”

In the Philippines, only 82 suspected anthrax cases were reported from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2023, the DOH said.

It further said there were no reported anthrax health events from 2019 to 2021, as well as from January 1 to March 29, 2024.



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