• December 2nd, 2020

Roleplayers working round the clock to contain Anthrax

Onesmus Embula

WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS), together with the Regional, Local and Traditional Authorities, Ministry of Safety and Security, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, farmers and other stakeholders are working round the clock to ensure the Anthrax infected carcasses are disposed.

A total of 119 small stock (sheep and goats) including three cattle and three donkeys died in the outbreak of anthrax disease in Sesfontein area since beginning of this November which also involved unidentified cases of wild animals. 
Another outbreak of anthrax was established at Bwabwata National Park in Kavango East Region this month where 32 buffalos died and no incidents of livestock was recorded. 

This was confirmed by Doctor Josephat Peter, state veterinarian in Opuwo region during an interview with New Era this week. 

Josephat further said restriction and demarcation of livestock to and from quarantines has been established from 7-29 this month with the collective support from Namibian Police Force roadblocks as part of efforts to curb the outspread. 
“This means, no transportation of animals or products such as animal fresh or dry meat, milk, skin, bones and animal manure for plastering and garbaging,” said Josephat.   

More so, he said vaccination by state veterinary officials has already ended on the 13th November where a total of 11 793 small stock and 734 large stock has been vaccinated. However, he said, the remaining 2 900 vaccination doses, available at Sesfontein veterinary offices will be distributed for free to the farmers in the vicinity of the affected areas.

He further cautioned that farmers and children in the restricted areas who depends mostly on animal products are also prohibited from selling these stock, hence a need for Kunene Regional Council, specifically the disaster and risk management committee to intervene with food relief. 

“No livestock products consumption for seven days and no eating of animal meat for 14 days from the day of animal vaccination. Public events such as weddings are also hereby requested to abstain from slaughtering of animal because of restricted meat consumption,” adds Josephat. 

As of recent, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry together with the Ministry of Health and Social Services issued a joint statement informing all farmers and the general public about the outbreak of Anthrax in the Sesfontein area of Kunene Region and Bwabwata National Park in Kavango East Region.

Accordingly, MAWF Permanent Secretary Percy Misika stated that Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis which is a zoonotic disease that affect animals and humans. “Anthrax bacteria can be found naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world and animals can become infected when they ingest from contaminated soil, plants or water,” said Misika. 

Additionally, he said anthrax primarily affects herbivorous mammals (animals that eat plants), although other mammals and some birds have been known to contract it.

Misika maintains that clinical signs and symptoms of anthrax in animals include general weakness, difficult breathing and sudden death without prior signs of sickness whereby animal that died of anthrax normally bloats and decompose rapidly. 

To that effect, MAWF and MoHSS have taken a one health approach (Inter-sectoral collaboration) in response to anthrax outbreak. “The officials from MAWF and MoHSS will be conducting joint awareness campaigns in affected areas to educate communities about anthrax in terms of Animal Health Act no.1 of 2011,” adds Misika. 

Furthermore, he called on sensitisation of the community health workers on anthrax for continuous health education to the communities. “Any animal that dies on its own should not be touched without protective clothing, opened or eaten, but must be reported to the nearest State Veterinarian or nearest veterinary office,” Misika urged. 

Farmers elsewhere are also advised to ensure that they vaccinate their livestock annually against anthrax. 
Misika assured that veterinary services officials have already visited the affected areas and collected animal samples for testing. Thus, MAWF and MoHSS appeal for the cooperation of all farmers and members of the general public during this outbreak. The Opuwo and Rundu State Veterinary Office numbers are 065-273012 and 066-255016 

New Era Reporter
2018-11-20 10:09:56 | 2 years ago

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