Anthrax outbreak – 40 in hospital

HARARE - Three people have died and 40 were hospitalized following an outbreak of anthrax at Manzou Game Park in Mazowe.
Farmers say attempts to control the spread of the disease have been undermined by the refusal of the police to prevent the movement of cattle onto land illegally occupied by government supporters.

Supplies of vaccine are reported to have run short, heightening fears of a more severe outbreak.

The veterinary department said the area has been devastated by outbreaks of diseases such as foot and mouth in recent years after the cutting of fences by farm invaders loyal to Zanu (PF).

“About 50 animals have died in one of the largest outbreaks of anthrax we’ve experienced in a wildlife area,” said an official.

He said teams had been sent to the area to vaccinate wildlife, including some of Zimbabwe’s most valuable game but lamented the shortages in vaccines caused by forex shortages.

Commercial farmers bordering the communal area say potentially infected cattle are being driven onto their land without hindrance.

In the south-east of the country there are growing fears of a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Hundreds of kilometres of fencing have been cut down by squatters, allowing buffalo to mix with domestic cattle.

Last December three people died in Goromonzi district east of the capital from anthrax contracted after eating or handling infected meat. – Chief Reporter

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