Health officials in Murang’a County, Kenya say that 16 people, men, women and children, were hospitalized for suspected anthrax Tuesday after consuming tainted cows, according to local media.
Joseph Mbai, Murang’a County health chief officer said, “The four cows that were slaughtered were sickly and the owner decided to sell the meat to neighbors and share with others”.
Of those hospitalized from the village included ten children, five men and a woman.
All that were hospitalized have been treated and discharged. The owner of the sick cows who sold the meat is currently on the run as police continue the search.
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Anthraxis most common in wild and domestic herbivores (eg, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, antelopes) 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, anthraxcommonly 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. anthracisspores 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.