15 have recovered so far

Medical: Fifteen of the 33 people from Serthi gewog in Samdrupjongkhar who grew sick after consuming beef suspected to be infected by anthrax have recovered and are now in stable condition.

Health officials said the situation is under control and no human casualties have been reported so far.

But health officials are still waiting for test results from Thimphu to confirm if the cause is anthrax.

All 33 people were treated for anthrax based on clinical symptoms and those not displaying the symptoms were provided with prophylaxis.

The incident occurred on May 22 when the entire community of Deptsang village had come together to construct a lhakhang. Lunch consisted of meat from a dead cow. The farmer sold the remaining meat and took home the rest.

Health officials said since the cow had died while grazing, the farmer thought the cow had died a natural death. However, the entire community including children who consumed the meat suffered fever, nausea, headaches, abdominal cramps, pain and dehydration.

Officials said the meat was found discoloured and foul smelling.

The kidney and pancreas of the dead cow were also found damaged.

An official said that those people who had consumed the liver and internal organs were reported to have suffered more severe symptoms as compared to those who consumed only the meat.

A field investigation has already been conducted.

While food poisoning is suspected, based on the clinical symptoms, people were treated for anthrax.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar