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Spring floods are threatening possible anthrax contamination from sites
Spring floods are threatening possible anthrax contamination from sites used to dispose of infected cattle in the Siberian republic of Yakutia, a sanitary official said on Friday.

The Siberian republic has 259 anthrax landfill sites, 28 of them are under threat from flooding, posing a possible health threat to the population in seven regions. The situation is being made worse by global warming, which is causing Siberia's permafrost to melt, leading to soil erosion.

"If landfill sites are eroded by flood waters, there is a threat of water contamination and subsequent infection of animals by anthrax spores that are active for 100 years," a spokesman for the regional department of Russian consumers rights regulator Rospotrebnadzor said.

"In Yakutia, the last disposals were conducted in the 90s, therefore, anthrax bacterial spores will remain active for a long time," he added.

In addition, the exact locations of many sites are unknown due to a lack of records.

Anthrax affects both wild mammals and domestic cattle that ingest or inhale the bacterial spores while grazing. Humans can contract the disease if they are exposed to the blood or tissue of infected animals. It can be highly lethal, but in some forms responds well to antibiotic treatment.


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