- Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. It primarily affects herbivorous mammals, although other mammals and some birds have been known to contract it.
- Humans generally acquire the disease from infected animals or as a result of occupational exposure to contaminated animal products
- So far, over ten animals have died as a result of the disease outbreak.
By Felix & Candia Stephen
Arua. The locals in the district especially consuming or handling meat are at risk of contracting Anthrax, a deadly disease that has so far killed one person and infected two others.
The outbreak was confirmed by Uganda Virus Research Institute after blood samples from the infected persons were positive. The District Veterinary Officer, Dr Willy Nguma, said they suspect the disease could have originated from the South Sudan refugees in Rhino after they crossed with their animals.
He said the first case was reported from a refugee. “People here remain at risk because there is uncontrolled movement or slaughter of animals. And people pay special attachment to meat and they eat carcasses in order not to waste food. So in this way I believe the Anthrax has come to stay although we are trying to control further spread,” Dr Nguma said.
He noted that there was need for the locals to identify and report cases of people having pores on their bodies early to nearby health centers. One of the affected persons died at Rhino Camp while the other two were admitted at Rhino Camp Health Center.
Dr Willy Nguma, the district Veterinary Officer for Arua explaining the deadly Anthrax disease. Photo by Felix.
The infected persons presenting blisters on the arms and the chests were treated at Rhino Camp health centre IV. In Anthrax cases, the blood from the carcass does not clot and the carcass starts swelling within one hour of slaughter.
“We were first treating the black quarter disease that is common and we realized that the animals were not responding to the drugs. So we had to go further with the tests which was then confirmed to be Anthrax,” he added.
According to World Health Organisation, there are three types of anthrax in humans: cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary. The vast majority of cases are cutaneous, caused by anthrax spores infecting a cut or abrasion. Anthrax is not transmitted from person to person, and can be treated with antibiotics.
The Dairy farmers need to be targeted in the sensitization as some of them are not aware of the preventive measures of the disease. It can be controlled through routine vaccination. The farmers have been told to report cases of sudden deaths of animals where there is presentation of blood oozing from nostrils and anus.