17 people hospitalised in Zambia after eating anthrax-infected meat

Lusaka, Jan 11 (IANS) At least 17 people were hospitalised in western Zambia after consuming meat from cattle which died from anthrax, state-run media reported on Tuesday.

Anthrax has broken out in five districts in the western province, with 65,000 herds of cattle in the province at risk of contracting the disease. So far, about 40 animals have died in one district in the past week, Xinhua news agency reported.

Western Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu, however, said the 17 hospitalised residents were currently in a stable condition and out of danger.

“I wish to confirm that there is an outbreak of anthrax in the province. So far, 40 animals died in Kalabo over the past week. Two cases have been reported in Shangombo and six cases in Nalolo district while another six cases were reported in Lumulunga,” he is quoted saying by the Times of Zambia.

The official has, however, assured cattle owners in the province that the government was responding to eradicate the disease by engaging in massive vaccination campaigns.

The ministry of agriculture has since restricted and quarantined cattle in the affected areas to allow for vaccinations to be conducted.