Shropshire Star

Holidaymakers warned after 'serious' disease outbreak at popular destination

Holidaymakers have been warned to avoid a popular destination and be cautious if they are already there after an outbreak of a 'serious' disease.

Holidaymakers have been warned about a 'serious' outbreak in Laos

Thailand is now on high alert after an outbreak of anthrax has been reported in Laos with more than 50 suspected human cases reported.

The Foreign Office has issued a health travel warning to UK holidaymakers to 'stay away from cattle' and 'ensure meat is thoroughly cooked'.

Their website reads: "Anthrax has been found in cattle and buffalo near the tourist areas of 4000 Islands, Pakse and the Bolaven Plateau. Anthrax is a serious disease that can be transmitted to humans.

"Avoid contact with cattle and buffalo and make sure meat is thoroughly cooked. Seek medical attention if you are exposed to infected animals or show symptoms."

Anthrax spreads through bacteria in soil and commonly infects grazing livestock and wild animals but it can also infect humans and be deadly in some cases.

Srettha Thavisin, Thailand's prime minister, has ordered officials to closely monitor the disease and to "protect the public".

Humans can become infected by breathing in the spores, eating contaminated food or touching bacteria with broken skin, for instance when handling diseased animals.

It is the first reported cases of human anthrax since 2001, with the most cases in a single year being 102 in 1995.

Symptoms of anthrax vary 'depending on the type of exposure'. A skin-related (cutaneous) anthrax infection enters the body through the skin, usually through a cut or sore.

Signs and symptoms include a raised, itchy bump resembling an insect bite that quickly develops into a painless sore with a black centre; swelling in the sore and nearby lymph glands; sometimes, flu-like symptoms including fever and headache.

A gastrointestinal anthrax infection results from eating undercooked meat from an infected animal. It can affect the gastrointestinal tract from the throat to the colon. Signs and symptoms include nausea; Vomiting; Abdominal pain; Headache; Loss of appetite; Fever; Severe, bloody diarrhoea in the later stages of the disease; Sore throat and difficulty swallowing; Swollen neck.

Inhalation anthrax develops when you breathe in anthrax spores. It's the most deadly form of the disease, and is often fatal, even with treatment. Initial signs and symptoms include flu-like symptoms for a few hours or days, such as sore throat, mild fever, fatigue and muscle aches; Mild chest discomfort; Shortness of breath; Nausea; Coughing up blood; Painful swallowing; High fever; Trouble breathing; Shock — an acute medical condition involving collapse of the circulatory system; Meningitis.