One person has died of anthrax, and several more are receiving treatment, after eating contaminated meat in anthrax-hit Kalabo, in the Western Province.
This brings to three the number of people who have died of anthrax, out of 67 reported (human) cases, since the outbreak of the disease in November.
The anthrax outbreak was officially confirmed by government earlier this month.
Minister of Health, Chitalu Sampa, has visited N’uma Rural Health where anthrax patients were undergoing treatment. Sampa told local media that the government had put strong measures in place to contain the spread of the disease.
However, according to some vets, attempts to contain the anthrax outbreak had suffered setbacks. Hunger had driven people to eat meat from anthrax-infected carcasses.
“It’s a serious challenge. People are desperate for food and warnings about the dangers of anthrax are ignored,” one vet told africanfarming.
Another said that livestock owners were known to have hidden stock deaths from officials.
Up to now, there have been 69 stock mortalities, with 46,000 animals thought to be at risk in the Shangombo, Nalolo, Sioma, Limulunga and Kalabo districts.
The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has bought in 20 000 anthrax vaccine doses, to launch mass vaccination in the province and government has banned livestock movement in the affected areas.