50 sick after eating anthrax-infected meat

50 sick after eating anthrax-infected meat

MASERU -OVER 50 people were taken ill this week after they ate meat from cattle that died of anthrax in Qeme last Saturday.
About 55 were rushed to nearby clinics while 18 of them were given prophylaxis and treated as out-patients.
Most of the victims developed blisters and had swollen limbs while others suffered from severe stomach-aches and diarrhea.
So far more than 20 cattle have died from anthrax.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security this week declared that there had been an anthrax outbreak in Qeme area.
The disease was first noticed in the villages of Ha-Tseka and Ha-Au in Qeme last Saturday after the villagers informed the ministry that their cattle were dying.
The Minister of Agriculture, Mahala Molapo, told thepost that they ensured that the carcasses were buried and those who ate meat of dead cattle were rushed to health centres for treatment.
A rapid response team comprising the Ministries of Agriculture and Health has since responded to the outbreak in the district.
The team is comprised of experts from the Disease Control Unit, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Epidemiologists who swiftly moved to contain the disease.
“Our main focus is treating those who ate the infected animals and how to properly bury the carcasses,” Molapo said.
“We are also testing water sources in the area.”

He said they are also going to hold public gatherings where they are going to sensitise the communities about the disease.
Molapo said they have also banned the movement of animals in and out of the Qeme area.
And next week they are going to embark on vaccination campaigns.

The minister said no one has died so far as a result of eating the contaminated meat.
He said neighbouring countries have been notified and no movement of animals will be allowed between Lesotho and its neighbours until the disease is contained.
He said the country’s export of animal products such as skins and meat has also been banned until the crisis is addressed.
“We are also planning to provide vaccines countrywide to prevent other diseases like Black Quarter,” he said.

The minister maintained they have put in place control measures to contain the disease in the affected areas to prevent more cattle from dying.
Meanwhile, the District Administrator of Maseru, Mpane Nthunya, said they will start the vaccination campaigns next week.
Nthunya said their work will be to meet the community leaders in the affected areas to sensitise them about the outbreak.

Tokase Mphutlane

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