Agricultre ministry confirms Anthrax outbreak
RUNDU, 11 OCT (NAMPA) – The Directorate of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry on Wednesday confirmed the outbreak of anthrax.
Deputy Chief of Animal Disease Control in the Ministry, John Shoopala confirmed to Nampa that the death of more than 100 hippopotami and 20 buffalos in the Bwabwata National Park on Sunday was due to anthrax.
He said diagnosis of the samples that were taken from the dead animals contained the bacteria.
On Sunday, a total of 109 hippos were found dead in the park’s Mahango core area, with preliminary suspicions indicating anthrax as the cause.
According to Shoopala, anthrax is a controlled disease by law which means that if it occurs, it is the responsibility of the State to direct the actions which need to be taken.
He said the team on the ground has started engaging the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to make sure that the carcasses of the animals that died from the disease are destroyed since they serve as a reservoir for infections.
“Due to the findings, it means that all animals in Namibia have to be vaccinated against anthrax and I encourage all farmers to vaccinate their animals against the disease to ensure the safety of their animals,” said the deputy chief, adding that the ministry will try to hold a campaign in the affected area.
He further added that the ministry will engage other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health and Social Services to sensitise communities living near the area not to use the water from the river as it is not fit for human consumption.
Queried on how the disease will affect Namibia’s beef exporting business, he said the disease will not have a direct effect as anthrax can be controlled through vaccine.
One of the requirements to export meat or beef to other countries, animals should be vaccinated against all diseases and the farmers provide proof of vaccination.
Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called bacillus anthracis that normally affects animals especially ruminants such as goats, cattle, sheep and horses.