An anthrax outbreak was reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Wednesday by Dr Joseph Savadogo, Directeur Général des Services Vétérinaires, Services Vétérinaires, Ministère des Ressources Animales et Halieutiques, Ouagadougou , Burkina Faso.


The outbreak registered in Banakeledaga, Bama, Houet killed 70 cattle, registered in four (4) herds that belong to four (4) farmers: three (3) of them from the Fulani camp of Banankeledaga and one (1) from the village of Bama.

The affected cattle presented with the following: Shivering, bloating, hyper-salivation, flow of blackish blood unable to coagulate after bleeding, spleen with the consistency of blackberry jam and fast mortality.

Officials note the source of the infection was contact with infected animal(s) at grazing/watering.

A number of preventive measures have been applied, or will be applied to include vaccination, restriction of movement, quarantine, disinfection and appropriate disposal of the animal carcasses.

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According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracisAnthrax is most common in wild and domestic animals but can also be seen in humans exposed to tissue from infected animals, contaminated animal products or directly to B anthracis spores under certain conditions.

Depending on the route of infection, host factors, and potentially strain-specific factors,anthrax can have several different clinical presentations. In herbivores, anthrax commonly presents as an acute septicemia with a high fatality rate, often accompanied by hemorrhagic lymphadenitis.

B. anthracis spores can remain infective in soil for many years. During this time, they are a potential source of infection for grazing livestock. Grazing animals may become infected when they ingest sufficient quantities of these spores from the soil.In addition to direct transmission, biting flies may mechanically transmit B. anthracis spores from one animal to another.

People can get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming undercooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores.

Bacillus anthracis bacteria Image/CDC
Bacillus anthracis bacteria