A deadly anthrax outbreak has struck the Kyotera district in Uganda, Africa, claiming the lives of at least 17 individuals and leaving 40 others seriously ill.
Initially dismissed by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), local authorities confirmed the presence of the bacterial infection, commonly found in cattle, sheep, and goats.
The outbreak began in October, with symptoms including rashes and swollen limbs. Dr. Edward Muwanga, the district health officer, confirmed the nature of the disease, stating, “The disease has been confirmed as anthrax. So we now know what we’re dealing with.
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People began falling ill, likely from consuming carcasses of dead cows, as 25 cattle have succumbed to the disease in this region.”
Pontiano Kalebu from the Uganda Virus Research Institute corroborated the identification, saying, “Yes, tests were carried out here, and anthrax was confirmed from the samples.” Reports suggest a death toll of up to 17 individuals.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concern about the spread of the epidemic along the provinces located along the Zambezi, Kafue, and Luangwa rivers.
The risk of anthrax transmission to neighboring countries is increased due to the frequent movement of both animals and people in the region.
Anthrax, caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, occurs naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals worldwide.
People can contract anthrax by coming into contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
The WHO warns of severe illness in both humans and animals, with transmission occurring through inhalation, ingestion, or contact with spores.
The situation in Uganda has prompted global health organizations to monitor the potential regional spread of the disease, emphasizing the need for coordinated efforts to contain and mitigate the impact of the deadly anthrax outbreak.