Saturday, October 08, 2011

(ZIMPAPERS) Anthrax outbreak in Tsholotsho

Anthrax outbreak in Tsholotsho
Friday, 07 October 2011 20:17 Agriculture
Chronicle Reporters

An outbreak of anthrax has been reported in two areas of Tsholotsho district with 34 cattle reportedly having died in the past week.

In a telephone interview yesterday, the Tsholotsho district administrator, Mr Themba Moyo, who is the chairperson of the district Civil Protection Unit, said 12 cases had been observed in people.

“These are confirmed cases and they are all from Bubude area of the district. The outbreak has also been reported in the Dlamini area with 30 cattle having died from suspected anthrax while four cases in humans were reported at Dlamini Clinic,” he said.

Mr Moyo said the results were from a rapid assessment carried out by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and the Veterinary Services Department. The police and the Veterinary Services Department have been asked to mount roadblocks to limit the movement of meat to and from areas outside the district while transportation and slaughter of any beasts has been banned until the situation has been brought under control.

“We got the first report over the weekend and the Civil Protection Unit held an emergency meeting today. We are expecting to send about five teams per day so that we cover the whole district,” said the Tsholotsho assistant district administrator, Mr Kelvin Mayoyo.

Mr Mayoyo said the district is yet to get vaccination but remained optimistic that they would get some from Harare. He said they were facing serious fuel challenges as they needed about 600 litres of diesel if they were to effectively prevent the disease from spreading to more humans.

“We urge villagers to desist from eating meat from cows suspected to have died from the disease. Villagers should burn the carcass instead of endangering their lives by consuming the meat,” said Mr Mayoyo.

The district has since written a letter to the Matabeleland North Provincial Administrator, Ms Latiso Dlamini, informing her of the disease outbreak. Mr Mayoyo said non-governmental organisations operating in the district have offered to assist authorities in containing the disease. The district suffered a similar outbreak last year around July.-CHRONICLE

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