An­thrax hits Mo­hale’s Hoek

31 cat­tle die in two days in a sin­gle vil­lage due to the deadly dis­ease 712 peo­ple be­ing treated after eat­ing con­tam­i­nated meat

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

A to­tAl of 712 Mo­hale’s Hoek res­i­dents are cur­rently un­der­go­ing treat­ment after eat­ing meat in­fected with the deadly an­thrax dis­ease.

Mo­hale’s Hoek Dis­trict Health Man­age­ment team (DHtM) Man­ager, ’Makhoase Ranyali-otubanjo, told the Le­sotho Times this week that scores of do­mes­tic an­i­mals “in par­tic­u­lar cat­tle, sheep and goats, are dy­ing in large num­bers in what we have al­ready es­tab­lished to be an an­thrax out­break in the dis­trict.”

Dr Ranyali-otubanjo said fol­low­ing a re­port that 17 cat­tle had sud­denly died at Holy Cross, Mo­hale’s Hoek, on 15 Novem­ber, her depart­ment had im­me­di­ately as­sem­bled a team which vis­ited the area to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion.

She said: “We re­ceived a re­port from the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture in Mo­hale’s Hoek on 15 Novem­ber 2014 that 17 cat­tle had died that day in the area of Holy Cross, in par­tic­u­lar at one vil­lage called Phakalla.

“And be­cause it was a week­end, our team com­pris­ing of­fi­cers from both the DHTM and Agric Depart­ment only man­aged to visit the vil­lage two days later, on Mon­day 17 Novem­ber.

“When our team ar­rived at the vil­lage, the num­ber of cat­tle which had died that week­end only was 31, with other live­stock such as sheep and goats also dy­ing in large num­bers.

“the dis­ease had also spread to other vil­lages such as Mok’hupha, Ha-Chola, Mohlak­eng, Ha Makoili and Ha-Khoai in the same area, of Holy Cross. And the worst part is that many peo­ple had al­ready eaten the meat.

“We con­ducted tests on 17 and 18 Novem­ber and the re­sults proved the an­i­mals had died be­cause of an­thrax. Some of the dead cat­tle had even been taken to an ini­ti­a­tion school in the moun­tains for con­sump­tion by the ini­ti­ates, and th­ese are some of the peo­ple we have put on treat­ment and ob­ser­va­tion.

“We found out that at least 712 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 38 ini­ti­ates, had eaten the meat, mean­ing there is a very high chance that they con­tracted the deadly dis­ease.”

An­thrax, she ex­plained, is a life-threat­en­ing dis­ease which nor­mally af­fects an­i­mals, es­pe­cially ru­mi­nants such as goats, cat­tle, sheep and horses.

“It can be trans­mit­ted to hu­mans through con­tact with in­fected an­i­mals or in­fected prod­ucts. How­ever, the dis­ease does not spread from one per­son to another,” said Dr Ranyali-otubanjo.

She con­tin­ued symp­toms of the dis­ease in­clude a se­vere headache, fever, nau­sea, vom­it­ing, in­fluenza, and se­vere res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems.

Ill­ness and death, she ex­plained, could take place seven days or even two months after in­fec­tion.

“We have since put those peo­ple who ate the meat un­der two-month ob­ser­va­tion while, at the same time, we are al­ready pro­vid­ing them with preven­tion treat­ment in case they are not al­ready in­fected.

“If they are al­ready in­fected, it is go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult to treat them. An­thrax treat­ment is not easy to con­duct.

“to­gether with the Agric Depart­ment, we have also started isolating or quar­an­tin­ing the af­fected vil­lages. We are ap­peal­ing to other vil­lages around the area to ob­serve the bound­aries and avoid in­ter­fer­ing and be­ing in­volved be­cause the dis­ease could spread fast. Most of all, we are ap­peal­ing to all Ba­sotho to re­port any sus­pi­cious or un­ex­plained deaths of their live­stock.

“Peo­ple must also avoid eat­ing meat from an­i­mals that would have died un­der sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances. they should im­me­di­ately re­port any sus­pi­cious deaths to the Health and Agric de­part­ments.”

an an­thrax out­break is lethal to live­stock and kills them sud­denly.

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