BUDAPEST, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Six people have been hospitalized with anthrax poisoning in Debrecen in eastern Hungary, the head of the Kenezy hospital's contagious diseases section told local wire service MTI on Friday.
Earlier reports from the State Public Health and Medical Service and the National Food Safety Office had mentioned five such cases.
Hungary's official health services announced the infections on Friday, saying that the anthrax bacteria had come from cattle.
They reported that a farm in nearby Tiszafured had slaughtered two animals which showed clear symptoms of illness earlier in the week. Farm officials did not report the slaughter to animal health authorities as required and instead processed the meat for human consumption.
Some of the meat was distributed among family members and some was sold to a small company that provided hot meals to a number of facilities including childcare institutions, with both buyers and sellers skirting public health laws.
Dr. Istvan Varkonyi of Kenezy hospital reported that all anthrax patients were being treated with antibiotics and all stood a good chance of recovery.
The hospital, he added, is also ready to receive additional anthrax patients since the people who participated in the slaughter and dressing of the meat as well as anyone who ate any of the beef was at risk.
Preventive measures ordered by authorities included the antibiotic treatment of all people who had come in contact with the infected cattle as well as of all animals kept in their vicinity. If antibiotic treatment for anthrax infections is begun early enough it can be treated well, officials told MTI.
In parliament meanwhile MSZP Socialist MP Zoltan Gogos charged authorities with gross negligence in failing to report the anthrax infection for several days, adding that to his knowledge the first hospitalization was three or four days ago, noting that anthrax does not spread from human to human, had authorities acted immediately, the hospitalizations could have been avoided, he said.
Gogos also claimed that the sick animals had been brought into Hungary illegally, and that the people who imported and slaughtered them were aware that they were ill. He suggested possible political implications, arguing that the owner of the farm was a supporter of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Gogos pointed to several cases of botulism poisoning from Hungarian-processed foods over the past few weeks and suggested that Hungary might be having serious food-safety problems.