He gets anthrax after eating lamb: his skin rots and turns black

He gets anthrax after eating lamb: his skin rots and turns black

La maladie est célèbre pour avoir été utilisée comme arme biologique. Illustration d'image Unsplash – Bill Fairs

Un quinquagénaire a développé l’anthrax après avoir dépecé et mangé un agneau qu’il a retrouvé mort sur sa propriété au Texas, annonce ce jeudi 6 juin 2024 le Centre de contrôle et de prévention des maladies.

While anthrax infections are rare in the United States, with approximately five cases recorded each year, they must be taken seriously due to their high mortality rate.

In December 2023, the Texan breeder found a dead lamb on his property. He then decided to cut it up and cook it for Christmas Eve meal with his family, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced in a press release published on Thursday, June 6.

An "unusual” case

The 50-year-old explained that the animal was in good health on his ranch, but that it died suddenly. This is what pushed him to prepare it for eating. But around ten days later, the individual was admitted to hospital suffering from blisters and swelling. The skin on his arm had turned black and was rotting.

However, the two other people who ate the meat did not fall ill, probably because the heat of cooking had killed the bacteria, doctors explain.

The man was treated with ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic used to treat gonorrhea, salmonella, plague and anthrax. A week later, he was back home, specifies the Daily Mail.

If the case is rare and "unusual“, doctors suspect the farmer was infected with the bacteria when he eviscerated the animal. They stated: “Preparation”of animals that die suddenly of unknown causes should be avoided, regardless of the season“.

“The Anthrax Triangle”

It is not known how the lamb became infected with anthrax in the middle of December, but in most cases it occurs when animals ingest spores of Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax. Additionally, the rancher lives in a county adjacent to Texas' “anthrax triangle,” an area in the southwest of the state where the disease has historically been present, the Daily Mail reports.

This is especially true since December was unusually warm, which would explain why the bacteria remains active in the soil. Also known as anthrax, the disease can cause sudden death in sheep without them developing any apparent symptoms.

The disease is famous for being used as a biological weapon. After the September 11 attacks, five Americans died and seventeen became ill after receiving mail containing spores of the bacteria.

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