In Russia's Far North, in the Yamalo-Nenets region, authorities have been fighting an outbreak of the Siberian plague, which is called anthrax in the West. More than 2,000 reindeer have died, and 90 local tribe members have been hospitalized, of which 53 are children. In the beginning of August, a 12-year old boy died in hospital.
"Children were infected as a reuslt of traditional customs," said Anna Popova, head of Russia's public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor. Some families in Yamalo-Nenets still drink deer blood and eat raw meat. In accordance with tradition, children remove the reindeer veins with their teeth. "They make threads out of reindeer blood vessels," Popova explained. She added that it was impossible to avoid infection in such a situation.