Anthrax claims 34 beasts
AT LEAST 34 beasts have succumbed to anthrax in the Mbire District of Mashonaland Central Province and the government has put an embargo on the movement of cattle as a measure against the spread of the disease to other areas, the Agriculture ministry has said.
The Department of Veterinary Services of Zimbabwe, however, suspects the number of cattle killed by the disease could be much higher.
“Mbire, Mashonaland Central has been affected by an outbreak of anthrax prompting the Department of Veterinary Services of Zimbabwe to place an embargo on the movement of cattle from the province. Thirty four (34) beasts have so far succumbed to the disease in the remote district,” read the statement from the ministry of Agriculture.
“These (the 34) are the reported cases, but we suspect there could be many more that were not reported. We have since mobilised vaccines to the district’s five dip tanks: Nyatsengwa, Masomo, Tengu, Bonga and Sapa, so that farmers can have the remaining herd saved.”
This comes after at least 200 beasts succumbed to anthrax in Mashonaland East Provinces in area such as Marondera and Mahusekwa among others in January.
The January anthrax outbreak left at least 90 people hospitalised after consuming meat from affected cattle.
Livestock, especially cattle, contract anthrax bacteria through grazing on contaminated pastures. Anthrax outbreaks are common in the country during the rainy season as rains erode the top soil, leaving spores than can remain dormant in the soil for decades, exposed.
The anthrax outbreak in Mashonaland Central comes at a time when farmers are already struggling with below average rains received so far countrywide.
As if this is not enough, farmers in most parts of Masvingo and Midlands are grappling with the fall army worm (FAW) which is devouring their crops, ruining any prospects of average harvests.