7 January 2019

Zimbabwe: Anthrax Outbreak in Zvimba

Photo: ILRI
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An outbreak of anthrax has affected eight people in Zvimba district after they ate meat from a cow that had died of the disease.

The affected areas are Chirau and Madzorera villages.

Anthrax is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by bacteria that normally affects animals, especially ruminants.

Mashonaland West acting provincial medical director Dr Gift Masocha confirmed the anthrax outbreak last week.

He said all the eight people, who were diagnosed of subsuternous anthrax that affects the skin and manifests in the form of ulcers, were treated and discharged at Zvimba Rural Clinic.

Other forms of anthrax are intestinal, whose symptoms are normally vomiting, pulmonary that affects the lungs and meningital that affects mainly the brain and its symptoms include headaches.

Dr Masocha said the Veterinary Services Department in Zvimba had since burnt two carcasses and some dried meat at the two villages.

"We received reports from Zvimba district that eight people have been affected by anthrax. The situation is under control and the Vet Department had since visited the area to educate and sensitise the community on the disease," he said.

However, the Zvimba sistrict senior veterinary animal health inspector, Mr Chemhere Nyamagara, said he was not aware of the outbreak.

"There is no an anthrax outbreak in Zvimba district, please update us if you hear of any," he said.

Government has provided $30 000 for the procurement of drugs and management of the disease.

Despite efforts taken by responsible authorities to educate people on the dangers of eating animals that fall ill or die after falling ill, people still expose themselves to dangers of contracting diseases such as anthrax.

Government also encouraged villagers to notify the Department of Veterinary Services whenever they suspected anthrax symptoms both in human beings and in livestock.

Carcasses of cattle that die from anthrax should be buried immediately while farmers are encouraged not to skin the affected animals to reduce contamination of pastures.

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