More on That Anthrax Outbreak in Zambia


Published: November - 2011

Before the hunting season wrapped up in Zambia at the end of October, at least one Hunting Report subscriber had his safari cancelled by an outbreak of anthrax in the area he was slated to hunt. Email Extra subscribers received a bulletin several weeks ago warning about the anthrax outbreak in the Chama District of the Eastern Province and the Luangwa area of the Lower Zambezi. More than 200 cases of suspected infection were reported and several deaths linked to the outbreak, which also killed more than 90 hippopotami in the Luangwa River.

The outbreak was first detected in early September, and infected areas in Chama were reportedly closed. According to Phil Minnaar of the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia (PHAZ), the outbreak in the Zambezi was mainly in the Lower Zambezi National Park in an area densely populated with hippos. Despite that, no one had closed their camps in the park, and the photographic safari operators had continued operating as well.

A report in the Zambia Times cites a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health who said the outbreak was apparently caused by an infected hippo, and all of the cases could be linked to the handling or consumption of hippo meat. Minnaar says anthrax outbreaks are not unusual and tend to occur in the driest months when hippos are crammed together, are not in top physical condition, and have to walk very far from the river to find good grazing.

According the US Centers for Disease Control, anthrax is not known to spread from person to person and is typically contracted by handling products from infected animals or inhaling anthrax spores from contaminated animal products. It can also be spread by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. Symptoms can occur within seven days of infection and include fever, flu-like symptoms, cough, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, fatigue, muscle aches, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, nausea, abdominal distress, vomiting and diarrhea. Also, cutaneous anthrax infection results in a skin sore that starts as a raised bump and develops into a painless ulcer with a........(continued)

 
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