Three more cases of cutaneous anthrax were reported from Kodupunjuvalasa village in Araku Mandal district of Visakhapatnam on Wednesday, The News Minute reported. Eight villagers have now been confirmed to be suffering from the illness, which is spread by contact with the spores of the bacteria, which are often from infectious animal products.

Five people from the village had tested positive for anthrax on Wednesday. All the patients are currently undergoing treatment in the dermatology department of King George Hospital.

Doctors suspect that the villagers developed skin infections after they consumed the meat of a goat, which was infected with Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes the disease.

A door-to-door survey on the disease and living conditions of the tribals was conducted by District Medical and Health Officer Uma Sundari and a team from the department of dermatology of KGH. “We have taken RTPCR test samples of the patients reportedly affected by anthrax and sent them to the DRDE Laboratory in Gwalior. A team from Gwalior will be visiting the agency area soon,” Sundari was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.

State Human Resource Development Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who had visited the anthrax-affected patients on Tuesday, said officials were working actively to curb the spread of the disease. The Animal Husbandry Department was also taking steps to ensure that animals do not get infected, he added. He also said that the soil would also be tested in and around Kodipunjuvalasa.

Anthrax, which can be found naturally in soil, can result in pneumonia, blood infection, and death. It mainly affects animals, but can also spread to humans.