Rapid Outbreak Assessment: Fatal human case of Bacillus anthracis infection and bovine meat contamination in Bulgaria, 7 August 2015

Risk assessment
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Citation Link

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control/European Food Safety Authority. Fatal human case of Bacillus anthracis infection and bovine meat contamination in Bulgaria. First update, 7 August 2015. Stockholm: ECDC; 2015

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A human case of Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) infection in an individual in contact with a sick cow in an anthrax enzootic area of Bulgaria is not an unexpected event.
​ECDC and EFSA have assessed the risk to the EU/EEA posed by a fatal human case of Bacillus anthracis infection in Bulgaria and concluded that this event represents a negligible risk to other EU/EEA countries.

Executive summary

Following information from Bulgaria, ECDC and EFSA have assessed the risk to the EU/EEA posed by the fatal human case of Bacillus anthracis infection in Bulgaria.

On 21 July 2015, Bulgaria posted an EWRS message to report a fatal case of anthrax in a 53-year-old male. The man owned and bred sheep and cows in a village in the municipality of Vetrino, an area known as enzootic for anthrax. On 7 July, the man and two of his friends slaughtered a sick cow without informing the Regional Food Safety Directorate. The man sought medical care on 14 July, tested positive for anthrax on 16 July, and died one day later.

A human case of Bacillus anthracis infection in an individual in contact with a sick cow in an anthrax enzootic area is not an unexpected event. Bulgarian authorities have implemented control measures thus minimising the risk of further spread of the infection. Exposure to the infected animal or its meat occurred only at a local level, and international distribution of possibly contaminated meat has not been reported. Consequently, this event represents a negligible risk to other EU/EEA countries.