Anthrax warning issued after Lao report
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Anthrax warning issued after Lao report

The Department of Livestock Development is warning the public not to consume uncooked meat after a news report about an anthrax outbreak in Laos was published, according to Kenika Ounjit, a deputy government spokeswoman.

Ms Kenika said on Saturday that the report was published on the World Forum Facebook page on Wednesday.

The post said there were three anthrax cases reported on March 4 in Soukhoumma district in the Lao province of Champasak, she said. Champasak borders Thailand's eastern Ubon Ratchathani province.

"Please avoid eating uncooked meat," Ms Kenika said, adding it includes raw beef, buffalo, goat and sheep."The meat must be truly cooked."

She said that anthrax is a deadly disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis on contaminated soil or grass.

Livestock may consume the bacteria, and it may spread throughout their bodies, leading to their blood turning black and eventually death, she said.

She said humans can contract the disease after eating uncooked meat from contaminated animals. Symptoms, which may show within two months after an infection, range from small blisters, headache and diarrhoea to shortness of breath, she said.

An anthrax infection might lead to a patient's death if he or she receives a delayed diagnosis, she said.

She said the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has ordered the Department of Livestock Development to raise surveillance to prevent the disease from crossing into the country.

The department is also ordering tightened animal quarantine and strict checking for smuggled livestock along the Thai-Lao border, she said.

The department is also asking farmers to report sudden animal deaths, she said. So far, there is no such outbreak in Thailand, she said, adding the department will also prepare vaccines for cattle to prevent an outbreak.

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