Six meat loaders from the city of Thika in eastern Kenya have been hospitalized due to suspected anthrax infections, according to a Daily Nation report.

Kenya Image/Alvaro1984 18
Image/Alvaro1984 18

Kiambu County Chief Health Officer, Stephen Njugunasaid said the six workers are currently admitted at Thika Level Five Hospital.

The report states: The first patient is said to have been pricked by a bone as he worked at the slaughter house while the three others are said to have come into skin contact with an infected carcass. It is not yet clear where the other two got infected.

The county government has dispatched public health and veterinary officers to all abattoirs in the area to establish the source of the disease and take precautionary measures to curb the spread of disease. In addition, the public is advised against consuming meat which is not inspected by the authorities.

The slaughterhouse has been shut down.

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.