At least 10 fisherman were sickened with suspected anthrax after consuming hippopotamus meat in central Kenya, according to a Daily Nation report today.
Apparently, the fishermen found the hippo’s carcass on the bank of Tana River around Kaluku area of Mbeere South sub-county. One individual died while at least nine other were taken to the Embu Level Five General Hospital.
According to Mwea assistant county commissioner George Maina, the hippo that swept to the banks of the river bore several wounds. “Villagers didn’t know what the hippo had consumed that led to its death. They just grabbed the meat and went ahead to eat it,” he said.
The hospitalized patients are said to be in stable condition. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page
Anthrax is a pathogen in livestock and wild animals. Some of the more common herbivores are cattle, sheep, goats, horses, camels and deers.
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.
It infects humans primarily through occupational or incidental exposure with infected animals of theirskins.
Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore forming bacteria can survive in the environment for years because of its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc. this is usually the infectious stage of anthrax.
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.
The bacteria will form spores in the carcass and then return to the soil to infect other animals. The vegetative form is rarely implicated in transmission.
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.
There are three types of human anthrax with differing degrees of seriousness: cutaneous, gastrointestinal and inhalation.