At least three out of more than 30 villagers in Tak who consumed goat meat are suspected of having contracted anthrax after they developed characteristic symptoms of the disease.
Doctors are still awaiting the results of tests conducted on samples of the animals’ carcasses to see if they were infected, Thawatchai Setthasupphana, director of state-run Mae Sot Hospital in Mae Sot district, said yesterday.
Several dead goats were delivered to the villagers, who were unclear about their history.
After consuming the meat, several people grew sick and showed symptoms but then took antibiotics before the tests were administered, which Dr Thawatchai said may have compromised the tests for which the results returned were negative.
Anthrax is a communicable disease caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacterium that spreads via contact with the bacteria’s spores, often from infected animal products.
Eating under-cooked meat from an infected animal puts the consumer at considerable risk, with detectable symptoms including fever, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting surfacing in 12-24 hours.
If left untreated, infections normally develop in the lymph glands in the intestines.
One local resident said he saw five or six dead goats delivered to a spot in Mae Kon Ken in tambon Mahawan before the meat was handed out to villagers.
At least 30 villagers visited a local health centre to receive treatment for a possible anthrax infection before the tests were conducted, he said.
Officials at the Bureau of Epidemiology under the Ministry of Public Health said improved transport links have helped worsen the spread of such diseases.