Anthrax outbreak grips Midlands

A DEADLY anthrax outbreak has ripped through the Midlands province with cases being reported in Gokwe North and South districts, where herds of cattle have been wiped out, while human cases have also been recorded.

BY BRENNA MATENDERE

Midlands veterinary services officer Munyaradzi Chigiji confirmed the development.

He told NewsDayWeekender that samples to be tested to ascertain the cause of livestock deaths have since been sent to the department’s laboratories in Harare.

“I can confirm that lately there have been huge numbers of cattle dying in the two districts of Gokwe, that is Gokwe North and South. Villagers approached us and highlighted that they suspected it was anthrax due to the symptoms displayed by the cattle. We collected samples and sent them to Harare on Monday. We await results so that we take appropriate measures,” he said.

Chigiji also confirmed that human cases were recorded in the cotton-growing areas of Gokwe.

“Some villagers developed signs of anthrax and these were confirmed at health centres where they went for treatment in Gokwe. The affected villagers were treated and discharged. We therefore urge anyone in Gokwe or those who will have visited the area to quickly visit a health care centre if they see signs of the anthrax disease.
Anthrax can be cured in people, but a delay in seeking treatment can cause death,” he said.

Villagers from Gokwe said they had lost a significant number of livestock.

“I had a herd of 15 cattle and all of it is gone. I had good breeds of heifers and hard Mashona, but all that is now history. From what we are seeing it’s very likely that it is anthrax,” Hamunesu Nyika, a farmer in Gokwe-Kana, said.

Douglas Gwangwama, another farmer in Nembudziya, said over 45 beasts died in his area in the last two weeks.

Anthrax is an infectious bacterial disease, caused by the spore-forming bacteria called bacillus anthracis. It can be prevented on livestock through vaccinations.

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