Incidences of the disease, which infects sheep and cattle and can spread to humans who eat contaminated meat, have increased considerably over the last three months. It appears to be spreading fastest in the Altai Krai region and the Republic of Dagestan, although the situation is worst in the Astrakhan region.
According to data, 18 people have tested positive for brucellosis in the Republic of Dagestan in the last few weeks. The total number of outbreaks for this year is more than 200. Magomed Gazimagomedov, chairman of the Veterinary Committee of Dagestan, told a press conference that the situation was getting progressively worse.
“The Republic of Dagestan is one of the most disadvantaged regions of the Russian Federation on brucellosis. In recent years, the number of people with newly-diagnosed brucellosis in our republic is many times higher than the average level for Russia. In 2009, 239 cases of human contamination from meat were reported, in 2010 – 171 cases, in 2011 – 199 cases,” he said.
In the last week, several outbreaks of brucellosis were also found in the Altai region – not far from the border with Kazakhstan, and the regional authorities have been forced to implement quarantine.
However, the most dangerous incidence connected to brucellosis occurred recently in the Astrakhan region. Here, around 1,200 heads of goats and sheep supposedly infected by brucellosis disappeared from the farm shortly after the veterinary services decided to destroy the animals. The region has entered an emergency quarantine, and law enforcement agencies are searching for the animals. Experts fear the contaminated meat will hit the market.
“For the safety of consumers our agency recommends that people should check the certificates and supporting documents from the sellers when buying animals, meat and meat products. Purchased meat should be thoroughly heat-treated,” a spokesperson for the regional department of Rosselkhoznadzor told Globalmeatnews.com.
Experts estimate that approximately 9,000 and 12,000 head of animals have been slaughtered as a result of outbreaks of brucellosis since the beginning of the year, although this figure could be much higher.