Tanzania: 36 people infected with anthrax after eating cow
At least 36 people in Tanzania have been infected with anthrax after eating the carcass of a cow, authorities revealed on Thursday.
The infected people are all residents of the northern district of Hai and were rushed to hospital after showing symptoms consistent with anthrax infection. Some of the patients have already been discharged while others are still recovering in hospital.
Yohana Sintoo, Hai District council executive director confirmed the outbreak, saying it had affected three villages: Sanya Station, Tindigani (Kia ward) and Knwasira (Masama West).
Head of Livestock and Fisheries Department at Hai District Council, Elias Machange, said the disease was reported a few days ago when people first ate the carcass in question. He said the meat showed all the symptoms to suggest the cow had been infected by anthrax before it died, passing it on to the people who ate it.
“That’s why it is important for people to eat meat which have been approved by the responsible authorities” he said.
Tanzania’s anthrax problem
Tanzania has been struggling with an anthrax outbreak since early last year, although authorities were confident the spread was under control by November. This latest infection shows how tricky the disease is to contain once an outbreak occurs. Normally, humans are infected by handling infected animal goods, but the disease can also be contaminated by eating infected meat or simply breathing in spores of the bacteria.
Last April, in the Kilimanjaro Region’s Rombo district, an outbreak killed one person and infected many others. Symptoms include swollen eyes, lesions all over the body, excessive bleeding, rashes and high temperatures. The fatality rate from consuming infected meat can be as high as 60%, depending on how quickly treatment begins.
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