The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry issued a warning to the general public and farming communities about a confirmed case of anthrax that in an elephant in the vicinity of Masikili and Nakabolelwa in the Caprivi region.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Joseph Iita says that members of the village had already helped themselves to the meat of the carcass when government officials arrived at the scene.
“Although anthrax is an easily preventable disease, through annual vaccinations, it can be extremely dangerous affecting both humans and animals. The ministry therefore warns the public not to touch, open or eat the meat from any animal carcass that dies on its own or from unknown causes as handling such meat or eating meat from such animals puts the people at serious risk of contracting anthrax,” Iita states.
He further says any animal that dies rapidly on its own should not be touched or eaten but should instead be reported to the nearest State Veterinan or DVS office.
“Everyone in the vicinity of Masikili and Nakabolelwa who has had contact with the elephant in question is requested to go to the nearest clinic and get appropriate advice,” Iita advises.
Anthrax can transmit to humans by bacteria entering through a cut in the skin or by consuming infected meat. This infects the intestines, skin and breathing. Inhaling anthrax is usually fatal.
In cattle, sheep and goats anthrax is mostly characterised by sudden beginning of staggering, difficulty with breathing, trembling, convulsions, collapsing and death may occur with short-lived evidence of illness. An anthrax carcass usually bloats and decomposes rapidly.