Min of Health in­ves­ti­gates an­thrax out­break

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE Min­istry Health is in­ves­ti­gat­ing sus­pected cases of the deadly an­thrax bac­te­ria after sev­eral vil­lagers who con­sumed meat from in­fected an­i­mals started show­ing symp­toms of the dis­ease.

Of­fi­cials from the min­istry this week said so far, all the vil­lagers from 15 vil­lages that have been tested were neg­a­tive de­spite the symp­toms.

The of­fi­cials said they would con­tinue to mon­i­tor the vil­lagers as the dis­ease has so far killed over 50 an­i­mals in Maseru.

An­thrax is a rare but se­ri­ous ill­ness caused by a spore­form­ing bac­terium, Bacil­lus an­thracis. It mainly af­fects live­stock and wild game which of­ten die im­me­di­ately after in­fec­tion.

Hu­mans get in­fected through con­tact with the in­fected an­i­mals, con­sump­tion of in­fected meat, breath­ing in the bac­te­ria or eat­ing food or drink wa­ter that is con­tam­i­nated with the spores.

The bac­te­ria can spread out in the body, pro­duce tox­ins, and cause se­vere ill­nesses that in­clude di­ar­rhea and vom­it­ing while blood may be seen in the nose, eyes and anus of the car­cass.

Makhoase Ranyali, the Maseru Dis­trict health man­ager, said sev­eral vil­lagers have shown symp­toms of the dis­ease after con­sump­tion of meat from an in­fected an­i­mal.

She said the symp­toms in hu­mans were first no­ticed on 5 April this year in Likalane­neng.

“We learnt that most vil­lagers ate the meat from live­stock that tested pos­i­tive and were show­ing signs as­so­ci­ated with the bac­te­ria but for­tu­nately so far no one has been di­ag­nosed with an­thrax,” Dr Ranyali said.

“We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor them as some­times the dis­ease man­i­fests after three months.

“The vil­lages that we are mon­i­tor­ing in­clude Setib­ing, Abia and Borokhoa­neng and we are also wait­ing for the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture to con­duct tests on some of the live­stock in Hale­joe.”

She said they have also em­barked on aware­ness ex­er­cises to en­sure that the com­mu­ni­ties avoid eat­ing in­fected an­i­mals as well as the proper dis­po­si­tion of the car­cass.

“When­ever an in­fected an­i­mal dies they should dig a pit that is 6 feet deep right where it died and avoid trans­port­ing it as that would in­crease the chances of spread­ing the dis­ease,” she said.

She said they also ad­vised the vil­lagers to use gloves when­ever they han­dle in­fected an­i­mals to avoid con­trac­tion of the bac­te­ria.

Dr Ranyali also ad­vised vil­lagers to con­tact the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture when­ever they have live­stock that shows signs of ill­ness.

The Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture’s se­nior vet­eri­nary of­fi­cer, Mpaliseng Mat­lali, said they have al­ready vac­ci­nated an­i­mals in dif­fer­ent vil­lages.

“We in­jected cat­tle, sheep and goats with the Blan­thrax vac­cine,” Dr Mat­lali said.

She said vil­lagers should spray the car­casses with lime as well as bar­ri­cade the place where they bury the an­i­mals to avoid spread­ing the dis­ease.

A COW show­ing signs of the An­thrax bac­te­ria.

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