Anthrax has been detected in dead hippos floating in the Okavango River, officials in Botswana said. This follows an outbreak of the disease in neighboring Namibia.

Image/Alvaro1984 18
Image/Alvaro1984 18

Recently it was reported that more than 100 hippos had died in the Bwabwata National Park, in the northeastern part of the country, with anthrax the suspected cause. The Okavango River flows through Namibia before entering Botswana.

Wild animal anthrax is a natural occurrence in many areas in southern Africa. Outbreaks of anthrax in hippos are well recognized across the region. In dry seasons, there is concentration of both animals and anthrax spores in the reduced volumes of water, and the infection is able to spread rapidly among the hippos.

Tourists and others are not at risk for anthrax if they avoid direct contact with the dead hippos.  New sightings of hippo carcasses should be reported to game reserve officials.