General, Research, Technology

New dangerous anthrax strain discovered

Anthrax is one of the most dangerousdiseases that can promptly trigger a large-scale epidemic with a large number of victims. According to the publication EurekAlert with reference to the journal Nature, an international group of researchers was able to establish that at the moment the bacterium Bacillus anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax) has been activated in Tai (Cote d’Ivoire National Park). It can lead to the mass death of its inhabitants. Moreover, according to scientists, a bacterial strain found in those places has not been previously registered.

The hitherto unknown strain of bacteria is calledBacillus cereus biovar anthracis, and it has already caused the death of several chimpanzees in Tai. As it became known, the same strain led to the death of gorillas, elephants and chimpanzees in Cameroon and the Central African Republic. Scientists examined samples of bones and tissues of dead animals collected over the past 28 years. In addition, the stomach contents of carrion flies that lived in the places of infection were studied, which in theory could come into contact with animals that died from anthrax and become carriers of the pathogen. Thanks to these measures, it was possible to draw up a “map of infection” and to understand the ways of spreading the disease.

According to researchers, about 40% of deathsanimals in the national park for almost 30 years have been associated with exposure to a previously unknown anthrax causative agent. A pathogen was found in several species of monkeys, mongooses and porcupines. According to the researchers, to save the animal population and preserve the species diversity of the national park, measures must be taken to curb the spread of the deadly bacteria. The danger lies in the fact that chimpanzees, which are genetically close to humans, were more affected by Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis. This means that there is a possibility that a new strain of a dangerous disease can be transmitted to people.