Thursday, May 23, 2024

There are currently outbreaks of anthrax in five different African countries, with 1,200 people affected so far and 20 deaths, as reported by the World Health Organization. Despite the official count, there is confusion about the true nature and extent of the outbreaks. In Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, only 35 out of 1,166 presumed anthrax cases have been confirmed by lab tests. Uganda has had several suspected anthrax cases that have tested negative, leading to speculation that a different disease may be at play.

Anthrax usually does not spread between people, and the outbreaks are thought to be confined to people that had consumed infected meat. In response, Uganda has recently banned the sale of beef products. Anthrax can be traced back to Bacillus anthracis bacteria that can remain in soil and water for many years, or even centuries. The recent heavy rains in East and Southern African countries have made anthrax outbreaks in cattle more likely.

In humans, anthrax can present as skin ulcers with a black center and swelling, which can become life-threatening if chest swelling occurs. Outbreaks of anthrax in wild animals, cattle, and humans are not uncommon in African countries. Currently, there is speculation that Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are all experiencing simultaneous outbreaks of anthrax.

Uganda has encountered difficulty differentiating true anthrax cases from others, as they have experienced negative test results for some presumed cases. Some suspected cases have been uncooperative with officials, and even traditional healers have been sought out as a result of feliefs in witchcraft. Responders should keep an open mind and consider the potential prevalence of other diseases. Injustice is noted from the lack of availability of a vaccine in the region.

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles