11 February 2019

Malawi: Government Warns Against Anthrax Outbreak in Neighbouring Tanzania

Blantyre — Government has warned livestock farmers in the country of an Anthrax outbreak scare recently reported in Momba district located in the Songwe region of Tanzania.

The ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development in conjunction with the ministry of health indicates that the outbreak has been confirmed by the World Health Organization and World Organization for Animal Health as of January 07, 2019.

In a press statement signed by principal secretaries in the two ministries of agriculture and health indicates that despite no human anthrax case being reported on the Malawian side so far, the disease remains a serious public health concern.

The statement adds that the infectious disease which is passed through infected animals or contaminated animal products and is fatal if not treated, calls for preventive measures.

"As part of a preventive measure, government has put a restriction on livestock and cross border movement of animals in Chitipa district. We have also banned slaughter of livestock, besides an enforcement against touching, opening and consumption of dead animals," the statement further adds.

The statement also indicated that an institution of a national health multi-sectoral team has been formulated to monitor all public health emergencies of both national and international concern such as anthrax in all districts including ensuring that medicines are available.

Currently, the multi-sectoral team has been deployed to Karonga and Chitipa districts.

"In humans, anthrax presents itself with skin blisters that darken with time, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarhorrea, general body pains, fever, cough, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes," it said.

The disease presents with convulsions, staggering, trembling, difficulties in breathing, spontaneous abortions, swelling of the neck, chest and shoulders, unexplained sudden deaths and oozing of blood from dead animals, the statement added.

Meanwhile, government has assured the general public that it is in constant consultation with the government of Tanzania, multilateral agencies and donor partners to contain the outbreak and updates on the matter will be made from time to time.

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