Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
At least 10 people were hospitalised while nine cattle died from anthrax in Chipinge District, Department of Veterinary Services director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Josphat Nyika said yesterday.The 10 were hospitalised after they ate contaminated meat and were receiving treatment at a local hospital.
The department has since vaccinated 28 037 cattle in response to the outbreak.
Dr Nyika confirmed the anthrax outbreak in Chipinge yesterday.
“We can confirm that there has been an outbreak of anthrax in Chipinge District at a dip tank called Tamburika.
“Two villages — Nyamatambe and Rusununguko were affected and, 10 people from the areas were hospitalised after eating anthrax infected carcasses. Vaccination of the cattle is in progress,” he said.
Anthrax is a highly infectious and life-threatening disease caused by bacteria that lives in the soil, bacillus anthraces.
It affects mainly hoofed animals including cattle.
The disease is prevalent during the rainy season as the washing away of top soils exposes the bacterium to the surface, resulting in animals grazing on contaminated grass.
Although the disease is not generally passed directly from one animal to another, an animal can pick up the spores if it comes into contact with the corpse of another that has been killed by the infection.
Dr Nyika advised people to safeguard their health by practising safe habits that prevented the infection from spreading.
“We would like to advise the public not to eat meat from animals that die from natural causes, but only eat meat that has been inspected by veterinary departments and other local authorities.
“Animals that die of anthrax should never be opened for post mortem. Burning or deep burial should be done to avoid the risks of contracting the disease,” he said.
He urged farmers to report on cases of death of animals to the nearest veterinary offices.
Every year people are affected while cattle die of anthrax.