Anthrax in Dagestan: clinical and epidemiological characteristics, risks, and prognosis of a group outbreak in 2019

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Anthrax continues to pose a serious problem for the healthcare and agricultural industries of Russia. Since 1900, over 70,000 outbreaks of human and animal infection have been recorded in Russia. Despite ongoing anti-epidemic measures, epizootics and epidemic foci of anthrax are recorded annually. Over the past 10 years, 23 anthrax outbreaks among people have been recorded in the Russian Federation with a morbidity rate of 90 people, and three fatal outcomes were observed. The Caucasus region ranks first in the Russian Federation in the incidence of anthrax in people and animals. The Republic of Dagestan is a region that is highly prone to anthrax. The spread is aggravated by landscape and environmental conditions that are favorable to the formation and long-term existence of anthrax foci. In most cases, the disease arises in areas previously considered safe for this infection, which indicates the presence of unregistered animal burial sites and the lack of proper control over sanitary condition. People become infected with anthrax due to the uncontrolled and forced farm slaughter of sick animals resulting from the lack of facilities for sanitary slaughter. Human infection occurs mainly during the slaughter of sick cattle, carving, and contact with animal raw materials. This article illustrates a group of anthrax outbreaks that occurred as a result of contact with a sick animal during slaughter and carving. Four local residents of one village fell ill, and in all of them, anthrax manifested in the form of a moderate skin course. The last case of anthrax in cattle in the said locality was recorded in 1958. This fact highlights the importance of compliance with anti-epidemic measures, including the so-called settlements that are safe for anthrax.

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About the authors

Murad Z. Shakhmardanov

Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3168-2169

Russian Federation, Moscow

MD, PhD, Professor

Aida S. Abusuevа

Dagestan State Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6999-1696

Russian Federation, Makhachkala


Vladimir V. Nikiforov

Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University


Russian Federation, Moscow

MD, PhD, Professor

Yuri N. Tomilin

Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2767-4868

Russian Federation, Moscow


Svetlana V. Burova

Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7664-7685

Russian Federation, Moscow



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Supplementary files

Supplementary Files Action
Fig. 1. Patient A. Siberian ulcer in the right palm.

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Fig. 2. Patient A. Siberian ulcerative carbuncle on the back of the right hand.

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Fig. 3. Patient A. Siberian ulcerative carbuncles on the right forearm.

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Fig. 4. Patient C. Siberian ulcer of the right forearm.

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Fig. 5. Patient G. Siberian ulcer on the index finger.

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