By Robert Herriman @bactiman63
Three anthrax outbreaks have been reported in the Maseru district of Lesotho, which have affected dozens of cattle, prompting warnings from South Africa authorities.
Lesotho is a landlocked country encircled by South Africa.
Last week, Dr Gerard Relebohile Mahloane, Director General of Veterinary Services, Livestock Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Maseru, Lesotho reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health of at least 24 cattle deaths and another 106 susceptible.
Maseru Central Veterinary Laboratory confirmed the anthrax by culture.
The outbreak is ongoing and authorities in Lesotho have initiated control measures to contain the spread of the disease, namely: quarantine and restriction of movement of cattle within Lesotho, surveillance within the quarantine area, official disposal of carcasses, by-products and waste, zoning, disinfection, and vaccination of animals.
While government officials in Lesotho confirmed anthrax, skepticism among farmers abound in the country. According to an Eyewitness News report, Lesotho wool and mohair farmers allege that their government is faking an anthrax outbreak to scare South African and international markets from buying their products.
South African officials say in light of the outbreak in Lesotho, livestock owners in provinces neighboring Lesotho are encouraged to ensure that their livestock is vaccinated against anthrax. Any sudden deaths among livestock in these areas should be reported to the responsible state or private veterinarian or animal health technician for investigation. Carcasses of animals that died suddenly with blood oozing from carcass openings should not be opened or consumed. Animals that are slaughtered at registered abattoirs undergo a thorough examination to ensure meat safety. Trading of animal and animal products takes place in compliance with international recommendations to ensure safe trade.