News and Information

Anthrax in Caprivi confirmed
September 22, 2004

THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism has confirmed that anthrax was the cause of deaths of wild animals which were reported in the Caprivi last week.

Sacky Namugongo, the Deputy Director of Parks and Wildlife Management, said the Ministry's probe found that five elephants and four buffalo which died had anthrax symptoms.

The affected areas are between Masikili and Kasika, in the eastern Caprivi (the floodplains).

Two elephants and one buffalo died at Kabulabula, two elephants at Mhalasinte, an elephant and a buffalo and Kasika and two buffaloes at Ivilivinzi.

Namugongo urged residents of the affected areas not to eat the meat from the dead animals.

"Anthrax is very deadly and such meat is highly contaminated," Namugongo told The Namibian.

He said his Ministry also received a report that two other elephants died on Monday morning, putting the total of animals that died of the disease at 11.

Last week, the Ministry's Director of Special Support Services, Dr Pauline Lindeque, said anthrax was believed to have spread to the Caprivi from the neighbouring Botswana which had confirmed cases of the disease.

Namugongo said the Ministry had dispatched staff to the affected areas to help control the disease while the Directorate of the Special Support Services has also been requested to send a second veterinarian to the Caprivi Region to monitor and supervise the operation.

Anthrax is primarily a disease of herbivores, although if affects wide range of species.

It is generally of an acute form in wildlife, with animals showing few symptoms before abruptly collapsing and dying.

Blood discharge from mouth, nostril and anus is characteristic of anthrax deaths.


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