23 January 2013

Namibia: Two Die of Anthrax in Oshikoto

THE director of health in the Oshikoto Region, Peter Angala, has confirmed that two people from villages in the Oniipa constituency have died after eating beef from cattle infected with anthrax, while more than eight villagers had to be treated at the Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital.

Some of the sick people have been transferred to the Oshakati State Hospital.

Villagers affected the most, Angala said, are those from Omadhiya and Omulonga villages.

Angala said the Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital was overcrowded by the affected people.

He said since anthrax can spread fast among people, medical personnel had been dispatched to the affected villages to treat people who might have eaten meat from the infected cattle.

Among the villagers was a student from the University of Namibia campus in Windhoek, and health authorities are searching for him so that he can be treated.

Angala told The Namibian yesterday that the outbreak would be discussed with veterinarians from the Ministry of Agriculture so that a mass immunisation campaign for animals, especially cattle from Omadhiya and Omulonga villages, can be undertaken.

Measures have also been put in place at the Onandjokwe Hospital to isolate suspected cases and those already diagnosed with anthrax.

According to Angala, the disease can be transmitted to human beings if a person with broken skin comes in contact with an infected animal or if a person eats the meat of an infected animal.

Angala warned people not to eat the meat of animals that died of unknown causes. He said even the funerals of people who died of anthrax should be dealt with cautiously. The symptoms are mainly stomach pain and nausea.

The Oshikoto Region is also dealing with a measles outbreak in some villages of the Omuthiya constituency.

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