Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Update on anthrax outbreak in Yamal - Первая жертва сибирской язвы

"Now the concern is that in the unprecedented recent heatwave - with a prolonged period where temperatures were between 25C and 35C in this Arctic location - anthrax spores were released into the air and carried by the wind. "


Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Boy killed 'after lethal infection 'awoke' in human graveyard due to unprecedented heat wave'.

01 August 2016


'I was informed about the death of the boy in our hospital. There are no words to express my condition. I feel sorry, I pass my condolences to his parents'. Picture: Press Service of Yamalo-Nenetsk Governors Office

The boy, Denis, died on Saturday from the virulent intestinal form of anthrax after eating infected venison. His grandmother died a day earlier, but as yet the cause is not established. 

Eight other people are now confirmed to be suffering from anthrax, including three children, according to preliminary diagnoses in the outbreak on the Yamal Peninsula in northern Siberia.

The dead boy was a member of a reindeer herding family. 

A total of 72 people are now in hospital, a rise of 32 since Friday, under close observation amid fears of a major outbreak. 41 of those hospitalised are children as Russia copes with a full scale health emergency above the polar circle which has also killed thousands of reindeer.

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease
A total of 72 people are now in hospital, a rise of 32 since Friday. Picture: Press Service of Yamalo-Nenetsk Governor's Office

The majority of samples taken from families of reindeer herders at the scene of the anthrax outbreak in the Arctic have proved negative, yet medics are closely observing all people admitted to hospital from the infected area. 

The reports on fatalities suggest that the grandmother  perished on Friday at her nomadic camp, yet news only came out today.

Local governor Dmitry Kobylkin said: 'I was informed about the death of the boy in our hospital. There are no words to express my condition. I feel sorry, I pass my condolences to his parents. 

'God knows, we made strenuous efforts from the first day, did everything possible, to save the lives of everyone. We just fought for the life of each. 

'But the infection was wily, returning 75 years later, it took the child's life.'
Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease
The cause of the anthrax outbreak could have been infected human remains from a local Nenets burial ground. Pictures: Znak.com, Vesti Yamal, Prof Florian Stammler

The governor urged local people to carefully follow doctors' recommendations. 'We will beat this infection. We are not alone, many people help us. Today we all have to be careful - and very careful - not to give any chance to this infection.' 

The boy was rushed to hospital but medics were unable to save him. 

Analysis of the cause of his death has been confirmed as anthrax, but the reason for the grandmother's demise is not yet known. 

The Yamal governor's office was unaware of the reported fatalities when the first media claims appeared. 

In a new development, the cause of the anthrax outbreak could have been infected human remains from a local burial ground, officials have admitted. 

Until now, the deadly disease was believed to have been caused by hot weather melting the permafrost and exposing the corpse of a contaminated reindeer. Today it was revealed that a cemetery close to last month's shock outbreak, the first in 70 years in Yamalo-Nenets region, is now under suspicion too. 

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease
Russia's chief infections doctor Irina Shestakova was rushing to the region today. Pictures: Vesti Yamal, Press Service of Yamalo-Nenetsk Governor's Office

It was also disclosed that the number of reindeer suspected of dying from anthrax poisoning in the last 10 days or so is 2,349, almost double the figure given when the emergency was first announced. 

Some 4,500 animals have been given vaccinations against the infection, with plans to boost this figure to 41,000 in a concerted bid to stop the lethal disease spreading. 

Meanwhile, the carcasses of diseased reindeer are being incinerated at high temperature to prevent a spread of infection.

The operation is being spearheaded by the Russian Army's biological warfare troops who are wearing full scale protective gear as they deal with the anthrax-infected animals.

Russia's chief infections doctor Irina Shestakova was rushing to the region today.

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease
Emergency teams from the army, Emergencies Ministry, and Health Ministry are on the ground in Yamal in a major operation to prevent a spread. Pictures: Russian Ministry of Emergencies 

In a worrying development, veterinarians have identified the burial ground - pictured - that they fear is the source of the current infection. 

It is an old Nenets cemetery in 40 kilometres from the current centre of the infection. In contrast to Soviet and Orthodox funerals, the bodies are not buried deep in the earth. Instead the traditional Nenets custom was to place them in a wooden box, a kind of coffin, on an open hill.

Now the concern is that in the unprecedented recent heatwave - with a prolonged period where temperatures were between 25C and 35C in this Arctic location - anthrax spores were released into the air and carried by the wind. 

Governor's press secretary Nadezhda Noskova told The Siberian Times: 'We are working out all the versions of what has happened. The first version is that due to the very hot weather permafrost thawed and bared the carcass of an animal which died from anthrax long ago. 

'The other version is that it could have been a human body. The point is that Nenets and Khanty peoples do not bury their dead in the ground.

'They put them into the wooden coffins - they resemble boxes - and place them on a stand or hillock. 

'The old cemetery could be also the source of the diseчase.'

She confirmed that the last case of anthrax in the region was in 1941, and that since 1968 Yamal has been declared clear of anthrax. 

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease

Child, 12, died from anthrax, as nine cases confirmed of the deadly disease
The operation is being spearheaded by the Russian Army's biological warfare troops. Pictures: Russian Ministry of Emergencies 

The European Union carried out its own checks for anthrax in 2001 ahead of venison export approval for the EU being given to company Yamal Reindeers.

It was reported on Monday that there are now 72 people in hospital under observation, a rise of 32 since Friday night. 

Emergency teams from the army, Emergencies Ministry, and Health Ministry are on the ground in Yamal in a major operation to prevent a spread.

Vice-governor Mikhail Kagan travelled with a mobile military unit for a close inspection of the infected area. 

Their aim was to define borders of the site where dead animals will be destroyed. A field camp with a laboratory will be built next to this site. 

'Work will begin to dispose of dead reindeers and vaccinating people that were left in the area. We should be done with animals' vaccination in about two weeks,' he said. 'We have experimented to find the most effective way. 

'Specialists worked in protective costumes, because, you understand, it is a dangerous area. 

'A person can work in such a costume for not more than two and a half hours, especially giving the hot weather. 

'We have chosen the most effective way of elimination - we will burn the bodies with petroleum products and car tyres.' 

Some 15 carcasses have been destroyed in this way today. 'The burning of the dead bodies will be held continually all day.'


На Ямале бушует сибирская язва





Первая жертва сибирской язвы: такой угрозы не было с начала прошлого века




Умер 12-летний ребенок. Страшный диагноз на сегодняшний день подтвердился у восьми кочевников, трое из них — дети. На борьбу со злом, о котором не вспоминали последние 75 лет, брошены внушительные силы спасателей и инфекционистов. Под наблюдением врачей находятся десятки людей, введен строжайший карантин.

В зоне карантина МЧС и военные приступают к борьбе с сибирской язвой. С самолетов выгружают необходимую технику и химические препараты. В тундру прибывают несколько сотен военных и спасателей. На месте началась дезинфекция и дератизация зараженных территорий — обработано больше 23 тысяч квадратных метров. Началось и уничтожение зараженных оленей.

"Три часа мы там находились. Попробовали, как все это будет. Происходить все будет просто: горюче-смазочные материалы, шины, все это будет уничтожаться", — говорит заместитель губернатора Ямало-Ненецкого автономного округа Михаил Каган.

На прошлой неделе Ямальская тундра стала зоной карантина. От опасной инфекции полегло больше двух с половиной тысяч оленей. Вспышку сибирской язвы специалисты связывают и с небывалой жарой на Севере, почти + 35°. Северные олени, непривычные к таким высоким температурам, оказались уязвимы к оттаявшим в вечной мерзлоте спорам сибирской язвы.

"Она у животных протекает как септическая форма, как тяжелое, смертельное заболевание, а у человека именно как язва. То есть, на коже возникают своего рода карбункулы, которые мы неплохо научились лечить антибиотиками широкого спектра действия", — поясняет главный инфекционист Федерального медико-биологического агентства Владимир Никифоров.

На данный момент в больнице Салехарда находится 72 человека. Причем, большинство из них - дети. Результаты анализов подтвердили диагноз у восьми кочевников: сибирская язва.

По словам губернатора Ямало-Ненецкого автономного округа Дмитрия Кобылкина, ситуация средней тяжести, заболевшие находятся под наблюдением.

"Надеемся, что сделаем все максимально возможное, чтобы люди выжили. Но одного мальчика мы потеряли", — признает глава региона.

Всех кочевников из близлежащих к очагу территорий, эвакуировали на безопасное расстояние. Больше двухсот человек получают профилактическое лечение. На месте ЧП продолжается совместная работа Минобороны и МЧС по дезинфекции территорий.

Командующий войсками радиационной, химической и биозащиты Центрального военного округа генерал-майор Валерий Васильев по-военному краток: "Взаимодействие налажено".

Очаг сибирской язвы на Ямале полностью локализован. Ситуация с распространением инфекции под контролем.

Заместитель директора центрального НИИ эпидемиологии Роспотребнадзора Вадим Покровский объясняет особенности заболевания.

"По счастью оно не передается от человека к человеку, но если эти споры попадают к какому-то животному, оно может заболеть сибирской язвой, умереть. Если люди съедят это животное или будут работать со шкурой, то они могут заразиться сибирской язвой", — отметил ученый.

На Ямале летом забой оленей не проводят, поэтому риска распространения инфекции в другие регионы нет. Тем более, сейчас, когда на время карантина вывоз продуктов животноводства из тундры категорически запрещен.


Специалисты тем временем продолжают спасать уцелевшее поголовье — в рамках массовой вакцинации помощь ветеринаров должна охватить больше 40 тысяч голов крупнейшего в мире стада северных оленей

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