ROMBO district in Kilimanjaro region has been hit by anthrax, a disease that has already claimed five lives and has also led to death of 21 cows.
The news was broken by the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa when speaking to officials of the Rombo District Council, calling for swift measures to make sure it does not spread further and is contained in as short a period as possible.
The PM who has been in tour of Kilimanjaro region, called upon health, agricultural and livestock officials from the district to strategize means to contain the disease and ensure it does not surface again.
He directed that a team of health sector officials should be going around raising awareness among the public about the disease, how it surfaces, its effects and how to get rid of it.
Anthrax is primarily a disease of herbivorous mammals, although other mammals and some birds have been known to contract it.
Until the introduction and widespread use of effective veterinary vaccines, it was a major cause of fatal disease in cattle, sheep, goats, camels, horses, and pigs throughout the world.
Anthrax continues to be reported from many countries in domesticated and wild herbivores, especially where livestock vaccination programs are inadequate or have been disrupted.
Humans generally acquire the disease directly or indirectly from infected animals or occupational exposure to infected or contaminated animal products. Control in livestock is therefore the key to reduced incidence.
The disease is generally regarded as being non-contagious. Records of person-to-person spread exist, but are rare.