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Published On: Mon, Jan 21st, 2013

3,000 at risk for anthrax infection in Oshikoto region, Namibia

Bacillus anthracis

Anthrax Image/CIA

Two people are dead and some 3,000 people are at risk of infection with anthrax after being exposed to anthrax tainted meat in the Oshikoto region of Namibia, according to an AllAfrica report Monday.

Health officials in Oshikoto say they are trying to trace thousands of people who may have consumed the meat of cattle believed to have died of anthrax.

According to the report, villagers from Omadhiya allegedly continued to consume beef from dozens of cattle that were dying ‘mysteriously’ at the village – even though they could not explain the reasons for the deaths. The first cow died on December 21, 2012, and was allegedly skinned by a young man who is a student at the University of Namibia.

“So many people ate the meat of these cattle. Some were even selling kapana. That is why we believe that a high number of people are at risk,” said Oshikoto Regional Health Director Pater Kefas Angala.

The two confirmed anthrax fatalities were in a 60-something woman and her 22-year-old son last week. A post mortem on the pair revealed the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. Upon arrival of this news, villagers rallied to the hospital for treatment.

Villagers have been warned not to slaughter of eat meat from an animal who died of unknown causes.

Anthrax is an infectious disease due to a type of bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. Infection in humans most often involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or lungs.

PubMed Health says anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep, cattle, and goats, but humans who come into contact with infected animals can get sick from anthrax, too.

There are three types of anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness:

Cutaneous anthrax: this occurs when the spore (or possibly the bacterium) enters a cut or abrasion on the skin. It starts out as a raised bump that looks like an insect bite. It then develops into a blackened lesioncalled an eschar that may form a scab. Lymph glands in the area may swell plus edema may be present. This form of anthrax responds well to antibiotics. If untreated, deaths can occur if the infection goes systemic. 95% of cases of anthrax are cutaneous. The CDC states there are 1-2 cases annually in the US.

Gastrointestinal anthrax: this follows the ingestion of contaminated meats. It is characterized by stomach pain, severe bloody diarrhea, bloody vomit and an inflammation of the intestinal tract. Up to half of those infected will perish from this form of disease. This is a very rare type of anthrax.

Inhalation anthrax: also known as “woolsorter’s disease”, happens due to inhaling the spores. After incubating for less than a week; fever, aches, vomiting are early symptoms. After the initial symptoms, a short period of improvement (less than a day) may occur. It then progresses to severe respiratory distress. Shock and death soon follow. Later stages of this infection have nearly a 100% chance of death even with antibiotics.

Most people with anthrax are treated with antibiotics. Several antibiotics are effective, including penicillin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. 3000 at risk for anthrax infection in Oshikoto region, Namibia | Drug Store says:

    […] 3000 at risk for anthrax infection in Oshikoto region, Namibia Anthrax is an infectious disease due to a type of bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. Infection in humans most often involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract, or lungs. PubMed Health says anthrax commonly affects hoofed animals such as sheep, cattle … Read more on The Global Dispatch […]

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