The Zambian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has procured 50,000 doses of anthrax vaccine. The vaccine will be used to carry out mass immunisation in Western Province where the deadly animal disease has broken out.
“We will vaccinate cattle in all districts in the province,” said Yona Sakala, director of services in the ministry.
Anthrax is highly contagious and can infect humans and animals. It is potentially fatal.
The disease broke out early this month in Western Province affecting the Limulunga, Nalolo, Kalabo, Shangombo and Sioma districts.
Sakala said his ministry has scaled-up its efforts against the disease: “We have deployed a number of veterinary officers to improve surveillance in all the districts in the province to ensure that the disease is contained.”
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) advisory guidelines warn that anthrax remains an endemic disease of public health concern. According to WHO, there is no approved human vaccine for widespread use because it has never been comprehensively tested in clinical trials.
The world health body warns that humans are susceptible to gastrointestinal anthrax caught from eating meat from an infected animal.