Masvingo has been hit by an anthrax outbreak with official figures indicating that more than 40 cattle have succumbed to the disease while at least 60 people have been affected.
Masvingo department of veterinary services provincial officer Dr Ernest Dzimwasha confirmed the anthrax outbreak saying 46 cattle have been lost while 37 people in Bikita and 27 from Gutu have been diagnosed with the disease after consuming infected beef.
“I can confirm that Gutu and Bikita districts have been affected by anthrax. We have already started the vaccination program and so far we have vaccinated 14 000 cattle in Gutu and we expect to vaccinate seven in Bikita,” he said.
Dr Dzimwasha encouraged villagers and farmers in Masvingo province to notify the Department of Veterinary Services as soon as they suspect anthrax in both human beings and livestock.
Last week three people fell sick after consuming meat from animals that died of anthrax in Mahusekwa, Marondera district. The three cases were picked at Chimbwanda Clinic and were confirmed at Mahusekwa Hospital on Monday.
Marondera district veterinary officero, Dr Kramer Manyetu said on investigation, it was established that the affected people consumed meat from two cattle that died on December 30, 2019. Earlier in the month, an outbreak of anthrax affected eight people in Zvimba district after they ate meat from a cow that had died of the disease. The affected areas were Chirau and Madzorera villages.
Anthrax is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by bacteria that normally affects animals, especially ruminants. Mashonaland West acting provincial medical director, Dr Gift Masocha confirmed the anthrax outbreak last week. He said all the eight people, who were diagnosed of subsuternous anthrax that affects the skin and manifests in the form of ulcers, were treated and discharged at Zvimba Rural Clinic.