Officials in Nakuru County in eastern Kenya are reporting that up to three dozen people are being treated for the bacterial disease, anthrax, according to a local media report.

Kenya Image/Alvaro1984 18
Image/Alvaro1984 18

Rongai Sub County Veterinary Officer, Martin Karate says the patients are being treated at Lengenet Health Centre. He also confirmed the anthrax-related deaths of 10 cattle.

The infected contracted the potentially lethal disease from the carcasses of the infected animals.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, Anthrax is a zoonotic disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracisAnthrax is 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. anthracisspores 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.