Anthrax cases on the rise

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HARARE – Anthrax virus infection is on the rise in rural Zimbabwe, with the Health ministry recording nine cases — four in one week — in the first two weeks of January this year.

The people are getting infected by the deadly virus — which causes skin, lung, and bowel disease — after getting in contact with infected animals.

In its weekly surveillance report, the Health ministry said: “Four new suspected cases of anthrax and no death were reported during the week ending January 14, 2018. The cases were reported from Buhera District, Gokwe South District and Mazowe District. The cumulative figures for anthrax were nine.”

The veterinary department confirmed that the infected people lived in anthrax prone areas.

Veterinary department deputy director epidemiology and disease control Chenjerai Njagu said in most cases humans get the disease after handling animals that have died of anthrax.

“Animals that die from the disease die without showing any signs. So people eat thinking it would have died maybe of a snake bite or something else.  So the transmission happens when you have wounds and you handle the meat and the blood,” Njagu said.

Anthrax is a potentially lethal disease caused by bacillus anthracis, an aerobic spore-forming bacterium that exists in a complex ecological cycle predominantly involving herbivorous mammals and man.

Last year, Zimbabwe experienced an outbreak of anthrax in Binga where more than a dozen of hippos succumbed to the disease. 

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