News and Information

Anthrax still sweeping through Caprivi
October 6, 2004

WILD animals continue to die of anthrax in large numbers in eastern Caprivi, the Deputy Director for Parks and Wildlife Management in the Ministry of Environment told The Namibian yesterday

Sacky Namugongo said the carcasses of 12 buffalo and two elephants have been reported in the Makoma area since last week.

They have already been burned by the Ministry's staff, he said.

"The situation is still not yet back to normal," said Namugongo, who visited Caprivi last week to assess the situation.

He said 29 animals had died of anthrax since the outbreak towards the end of last month.

This figure includes 22 buffalo and seven elephants.

Namugongo said his Ministry was still doing routine inspections and monitoring the situation.

The affected area, from Ngoma to Makoma and Kasika, is still cordoned off to prevent the disease from spreading.

Namugongo repeated his earlier call to residents in the affected area to stay away from animal carcasses, as anthrax is a very contagious disease.

Some domestic animals have also died of anthrax in eastern Caprivi.

Last week, the Acting Deputy Director for Animal Disease Control in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Frans Joubert, told The Namibian that nine cattle had died in the area.

Joubert said his Ministry was vaccinating all cattle in the surrounding areas and the process was going on smoothly.

The vaccination drive will later be extended to the rest of the Caprivi Region.

Anthrax is believed to have spread to the Caprivi from Botswana's Chobe National Park, were 95 buffalo and six elephants recently died of the disease.

The Chobe National Park borders Namibia's eastern Caprivi area.

The disease is also reported to have killed a number of animals in Zimbabwe.

Reuters reports that the outbreak has killed 120 hippos in Uganda.

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

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

Namugongo also said his Ministry was monitoring an outbreak of locusts that is destroying grazing in eastern Caprivi.


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