29 Jul 2013 11:50
WINDHOEK, 29 JUL (NAMPA) - The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has confirmed a case of anthrax in the Caprivi Region.
The ministry issued a stern warning to members of the public and the farming communities in the region not to touch or eat meat from any animal which died on its own, or of unknown causes, according to a media statement issued by MAWF Permanent Secretary Joseph Iita on Friday.
A case of anthrax was confirmed in an elephant in the vicinity of Masikili and Nakabolelwa area recently. By the time Government officials arrived at the scene, the villagers in the area had already opened the carcass and helped themselves to the meat, he said.
Iita called on residents who had contact with the meat of that elephant to go to the nearest hospital or clinic.
Handling such meat or eating meat from such an animal puts people at serious risk of contracting anthrax.
Symptoms of anthrax in people include fever which may be accompanied by chills or night sweats; flu-like symptoms like coughs, which include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, sore throats, followed by difficulty swallowing, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal distress, vomiting, or diarrhoea. Another symptom is a sore, especially on the face, arms or hands that starts as a raised bump and develops into a painless ulcer with a black area in the centre.
Anthrax affects animals which include both wild and domestic herbivores like cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, elephants, kudus, as well as many antelopes. In cattle, sheep and goats, anthrax is mostly characterised by the sudden onset of staggering, difficult breathing, trembling, collapsing, convulsions. Death may however occur with only a brief evidence of illness. Due to the rapid course of the disease, most animals which get anthrax are found dead and may ooze dark, unclotted blood from natural openings like the mouth, nostrils and anus. An anthrax carcass normally bloats and decomposes rapidly.
Anthrax is an easily preventable disease in livestock, which is done through annual vaccinations.