Kenya: Worry in Tharaka-Nithi As Three Admitted With Suspected Anthrax

1 January 2019

Three Tharaka-Nithi residents have been admitted in critical condition after eating the meat of cow believed to have been infected with anthrax.

The three were taken to Chuka County Referral Hospital while at least 10 were examined at various facilities and discharged. Many others were said to be nursing symptoms at their homes in parts including Mitheru and Ndagani.


County Health Director, Dr Tony Njoka, told the Nation that the situation was worsening as people were still eating the meat of cows that had been sick.

Dr Njoka said they also do not want to seek treatment.

"We visited one of the affected villages on Monday to appeal to them to seek treatment but most ran away and hid in the bushes," he said.

He added that the agriculture department recently immunised animals but that the numbers were low.

Residents say they do not have money for the immunisation and that the centres are too far away.

The doctor noted that those who sought medical care early enough were improving so the others should follow suit. He promised the sick will not be arrested.

Agriculture executive Jasper Nkanya said he sent livestock officers to affected areas in a bid to arrest the situation.

He advised residents to always report cases to county livestock officers and shun quacks as they mislead them.

In Chuka in October, one person died while many were treated under similar circumstances.


Speaking to the Nation from his hospital bed, Derick Kithinji from Mitheru village in Maara Constituency said one of his hands got swollen after the had beef on December 23.

Mr Kithinji went to hospital three days later.

"Those who come into contact with blood are the most affected," he said, adding that an unspecified number of people visited Muthambi Health Centre.

He said many with swollen hands and eyes were hiding in their homes, fearing arrest for eating uninspected meat.

Njagi Mbaka, a patient from Ndagani, said he came into contact with the blood of a cow while skinning it.

In the episode a week ago, his hand and other parts of his body got swollen.

"I was in a very bad condition ... I have improved," he said, adding that when cows dies in the villages, residents hardly call veterinary officers for inspections.

He said that in Mitheru alone, hundred of goats and at least 80 cows have died since August last year.

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