The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is not a place that gets much media coverage. This subdivision of Siberia – made up mostly of flat, lake-pocked tundra – is the size of California, Texas, Montana and both Dakotas combined, with tens of thousands of square miles to spare.

The nomadic people of the region call themselves the Nenets, and they call their remote, windswept land Yamal, which means “the end of the world.” They move seasonally with herds of reindeer through the endless expanses of lichen and dwarf shrubs. For most of the year, it is frigid.

Since July, however, something unusual has been afoot in Yamal: Temperatures have soared, reaching 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In the ensuing thaw, the once-frozen carcasses of reindeer have attracted bacteria, including one that causes anthrax.

And so, for the first time since 1941, there is an anthrax outbreak. One child has died, and almost 100 other Nenets have been hospitalized, with dozens of confirmed cases. More than 2,300 reindeer have succumbed to the disease.

“There is no epidemic in Yamal. Only a small area was quarantined,” the region’s governor, Dmitry Kobylkin, said.

Anthrax can be caused by bacterial spores commonly found in herbivorous mammals. Contact can lead to infection, which is characterized by fever, stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. For the Nenets, living alongside reindeer carries this risk, but anthrax bacteria normally can’t survive in the region’s climate.