Anthrax Outbreak Spreading In Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE - Anthrax is feared to be spreading in Zimbabwe as veterinary officials said on Monday (28 December) they are testing a suspected case of the deadly disease from a rural growth point about 50 kilometers East of Harare.
calendar icon 29 December 2009
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The suspected case followed an outbreak of the disease in central parts of the country last week, which killed one person and 25 cattle, reports The Global Times.

Veterinary Services Department deputy director Chenjerai Njagu said that the results of the suspected case from Juru Growth Point in Goromonzi district would be out on Tuesday.

He said the area is one of the few districts which were left out during vaccination done at the beginning of the year.

"We left out Goromonzi and Seke districts because of shortage of vaccines," said Mr Njagu.

"Now these are the areas giving us problems because we had not vaccinated them at the beginning of the year."

The anthrax outbreak in Seke, some 40 km South-East of Harare, killed 18 cattle while one person and seven cattle succumbed to the disease which broke out last week in Selous, 60 km North-West of the capital.

Mr Njagu said the disease was dangerous as one case can kill several people who consume meat from an infected animal.

He said the department would soon move into the affected areas to vaccinate cattle.

The department vaccinated 1,100 cattle in Seke over the Christmas holiday but Mr Njagu said the turn out was very low.

"The turn out was low and we are going to repeat vaccination after the holiday," he said.

Anthrax is a soil-borne disease which is endemic in Zimbabwe. It is normally recorded during the rainy season when sprouting grass brings out the bacteria from soil.

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