Bangladesh: Anthrax case-control project — Data collection completed

Study objectives

To improve understanding of the socio-demographic characteristics of people with cutaneous anthrax lesions to help target anthrax risk reduction messages to at-risk groups of people.

To conduct a case-control study to assess risk factors associated with the occurrence of human cutaneous anthrax.

View preliminary results.

Study design

The study aimed to recruit 200 people diagnosed with human cutaneous anthrax, referred from 10 upazila complexes in north-western Bangladesh, and 400 randomly selected control people who do not have anthrax.

Qualified health professionals acted as data collectors. An initial workshop was held to train the data collectors to accurately and consistently identify cases of anthrax, and to teach them best-practice data collection techniques. After training, the collectors were sent to the 10 Upazilla Health Complexes to administer the questionnaire in Bangla.

Data collection

Data collection began on the 18th May 2013 and was completed by mid-September.


One of the biggest challenges this project faced was obtaining referrals of human cases of anthrax. In July, the following strategies for increasing the numbers of recruited cases were conceived and deployed:

  • Introduction of incentives for field staff to refer cases for inclusion in the study.
  • Provision of financial aid towards the costs of treatment of the affected people.