Free State warned of anthrax outbreak

An outbreak of anthrax in Lesotho was reported to the agriculture department in the Free State at the beginning of April, for fear that it could cross the border.
Issue date: 04 April 2008

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An outbreak of anthrax in Lesotho was reported to the agriculture department in the Free State at the beginning of April, for fear that it could cross the border. The department has already initiated a vaccination programme in preparation of the outbreak if border controls should fail, according to Free State agriculture spokesperson Ntai Mokhitli. “There have been no reported cases in the Free State,” said Mokhitli.

Tembo Mumba, head of the Epidemiology Unit at the Department of Livestock Services in Lesotho, said that the local vet services were currently vaccinating livestock in Maseru and Mafeteng – areas endemic to anthrax. “We had 38 animal cases at the beginning of the month and all the animals died,” said Mumba. “There have been no more reported cases and we’ve started ring vaccinations 10km to 15km around the affected areas.”

Five people have already died from anthrax since the outbreak at the beginning of March. “People who consumed livestock meat infected with anthrax contracted the disease,” said Mumba. “We’re planning to vaccinate 60 000 animals by the end of this month.” – David Steynberg

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