The Ministry of Health advised reinforcing epidemic prevention and control measures as three outbreaks of human anthrax disease occurred in northern Dien Bien Province, linked to the butchering and consumption of buffalo and cow meat.
Anthrax is a highly infectious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a type of gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It is found naturally in soil and affects domestic and wild animals globally.
Humans can contract anthrax by interacting with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
This disease can lead to severe illness in both humans and animals.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of Dien Bien reported 13 cases of anthrax infections on residents at three locations in Tua Chua District from May 5 to 30.
The patients are still undergoing treatment.
All of them had an epidemiological history related to slaughtering and eating buffaloes and cows, which had died of unknown reasons.
Another 132 people also came in contact with and consumed this group of dead cattle.
They experienced symptoms including blisters and sores on the skin, headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and body aches.
The General Department of Preventive Medicine, under the Ministry of Health, issued an official order on Friday, urging the Department of Health of Dien Bien to promptly oversee and monitor the well-being of individuals engaged in the slaughter and consumption of the same bovine meat source as the patients.
The Dien Bien health department is required to conduct environmental treatment in the outbreak area and prevent new infections.
The authorities also warn people against slaughtering and eating dead buffaloes, cows, and horses of unknown origin, which is a dominant practice across much of mountainous rural Vietnam.