Veterinary officials in Ibanda District have declared an anthrax outbreak where one person has died and 20 other people have been hospitalized.
The outbreak is linked to infected meat that was sold at a big discount compared to fresh meat.
The Ibanda District veterinary officer, Dr Hillary Arinaitwe closed all butcheries in Kagongo Division to prevent further spread of the disease.
Anthrax is a very serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a very short time. Affected animals are often found dead with no illness detected.
When conditions become favorable, the spores germinate into colonies of bacteria. An example would be a grazing cow ingests spores that in the cow, germinate, grow spread and eventually kill the animal. Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore forming bacteria can survive in the environment for decades because of its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc. This is usually the infectious stage of anthrax.
There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax. People get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products, consuming undercooked meat of infected animals and more recently, intentional release of spores.
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