Koraput (Odisha): Four persons have been recently hospitalised with symptoms of anthrax in a tribal village of Koraput district of Odisha.

The patients belong to Lamtaput village. While two of them are being treated at Lamataput hospital, the other two are admitted to a privater hospital in Lamataput, an official said today.

The affected villagers had killed a sick goat a few days back and eaten its meat which might have led to the outbreak of the disease.

“Patients have abnormal swellings and boils on their body which are symptoms of anthrax. At present, the situation is under control with teams of doctors and health workers monitoring the situation and visiting the affected village,” chief district medical officer (CDMO) of Koraput Laxmi Dhar Kabi said.

The fresh cases sparked off a debate on the effectiveness of the administration’s strategy to contain the disease. “Each year fresh cases are reported in the district. Vaccination of cattle has not started except in a couple of blocks. The awareness drive against the disease is a non-starter but officers attribute it to the lifestyle of tribals,” said Bhabani Mishra, a Koraput based campaigner.

Authorities however claimed that the drive against anthrax was progressing well. “The veterinary department has started vaccination of cattle. Awareness drives have been taken up in rural areas by health officials and voluntary organisations,” the CDMO said.

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