Authorities in the north-west Colombian department of La Guajira declared a state of emergency on Tuesday following an outbreak of the infectious disease anthrax in the department’s capital city Riohacha.
So far, 77 people in La Guajira are known to have developed skin lesions, one of the symptoms of anthrax contagion. Of these, doctors have confirmed three cases. According to authorities, two people so far have died from the disease.
Due to the outbreak, goat slaughterhouses in the region have been closed, in the hope of preventing the spread of anthrax.
The most common way to contract anthrax is through exposure to infected animals or their products. People who work with dead animals or animal products are at the highest risk of contracting the potentially fatal illness.