Uganda dispatches teams to contain anthrax outbreak


Uganda’s Ministry of Health and that of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries have dispatched teams of experts to contain anthrax outbreak in Western, Northwestern and Eastern regions, a top health official said on Friday.

Sarah Opendi Achieng, Minister of State for Health, told Xinhua by telephone that the health and veterinary experts had been sent to the districts of Arua, Kween and Kirihura to contain the outbreak, following new cases of the disease.

“We have a national joint task force. We have jointly sent a team. The ministry of agriculture is providing vaccines for the treatment of the cattle and ministry of health has availed the necessary antibiotics for handling infected persons,’’ said Opendi.

“The ministry of agriculture is going to import drugs for treating the animals. We shall continue with the public sensitisation to avoid eating meat of the dead animals. They should bury them,’’ she said.

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Tom Aza Alero, the West Moyo legislator, earlier told the parliament that the disease caused by bacteria, bacillus anthracis has left two people dead, 28 infected and over 1,000 affected in the northwestern region.

“The anthrax outbreak is affecting the social and economic livelihood of the people of West Nile. The concerned ministries should move and act on the outbreak,’’ said Aza.

In May, Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health, told Xinhua by telephone that the anthrax outbreak at Rhino Refugee Settlement in Arua, Kween and Kiruhura had been put under control with no suspected cases reported.

The World Organisation for Animal Health, an intergovernmental authority responsible for improving animal health worldwide, said in a report on May 18, that the disease had killed at least three people and 24 head of cattle in Arua, Kween and Kiruhura.

Anthrax primarily affects herbivorous mammals, although other mammals and some birds have been known to contract it.

Humans generally acquire the disease from infected animals or as a result of exposure to contaminated animal products, according to the World Health Organisation.

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