Five suspected anthrax cases reported in Russia's Altai

Five of the 14 people recently taken to hospitals in Russia's Altai Territory are showing anthrax-like symptoms.

The diagnosis of three of these five people has already been confirmed by laboratory tests. One of them has died.

One of those hospitalized is a resident of the village of Marushka, and the others live in Druzhba village, a spokesman for the local Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry Department told Interfax.

"A vaccination campaign is due to start today. Priority will be given to people working in the agricultural sector," the spokesman said.

A total of 130 anthrax vaccine doses have already been delivered from the Altai Territory from Tomsk, and an agreement has been achieved with Omsk regarding another 200 doses.

A meeting between the authorities and local residents will be held in Marushka village, where a man was hospitalized showing anthrax-like symptoms, Tselinny district administration head Nikolai Goncharov told Interfax.

"We will speak to all residents at this meeting, explain to them what they should do next. The emergency commission held a session last night. All of the necessary measures were determined," Goncharov said.

Marushka is located near the village of Druzhba, he said.

An anthrax outbreak killed one person in Druzhba and prompted the local authorities to declare a state of emergency and quarantine in the district. District administration officials visited each house in Druzhba and held a meeting with local residents last Sunday. People are not allowed to take any meat or dairy products out of the Tselinny district, where specialists of the consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor and local veterinary services continue working.

A criminal investigation has been launched in response to the start of the anthrax outbreak in Altai.

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