China, where the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated, has reported a deadly anthrax pneumonia case. The infection was reported from Chengde in the Northern Hebei Province, on August 9.
The patient is said to have had a contact history with cattle, sheep and goods produced from these animals. The patient was moved to Beijing after he showed symptoms of the disease and has now been put in quarantine and is under treatment, the Beijing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Anthrax pneumonia is the most deadly infection, which occurs when a patient inhales dust containing Bacillus anthracis, the pathogen that causes anthrax, and becomes sick.
According to an article published in Science Focus, a journal from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Japan used Bacillus anthracis as a biochemical weapon in World War II. The Japanese army used to attack Chinese cities with anthrax and other biological agents by spraying them directly onto homes from aircraft. During this time, many prisoners were also infected with anthrax and other deadly diseases.
Bacillus anthracis is a bacterium and multiple antibiotics are effective for treatment, the report said.
People who consume infected food, generally raw or undercooked meat from infected animals can get intestinal anthrax. It causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Anthrax can be passed from person to person. However, it is not as infectious as the flu or COVID-19. In rare cases, person-to-person transmission has been reported with cutaneous anthrax, where bacteria gets into a cut or scrape in the skin and causes infection.
Cattle and sheep are both vulnerable to anthrax. Infection occurs when humans come into touch with diseased animals or contaminated products. The most common form of infection is due to skin contact that leads to blisters and skin necrosis, Beijing CDC states.
According to Johns Hopkins University, China has reported 105,904 confirmed infections and 4,848 death cases so far. Beijing has implemented measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus cases by banning people from traveling to the capital from provinces surging COVID-19 cases in the country.
Beijing has introduced a range of measures, including imposing restrictions on the purchase of railway and flight ticket services, to strengthen the management of people returning from other regions with virus infections.