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Officials say 6 hospitalised in eastern Kenya over suspected outbreak of anthrax

Health officials said no fewer than six people have been hospitalised and slaughter houses closed indefinitely in Kiambu County, eastern Kenya after a suspected outbreak of anthrax in the region.

Kiambu County Director of Clinical Services Jacob Toro said that six people, who are all meat loaders at a slaughter house, are currently admitted with suspected Anthrax at Thika Level Five Hospital.

“They were admitted with coetaneous lesions and samples were taken on Wednesday to the Vet lab in Kabete by the disease surveillance team,” said Toro.

He however assured the public that the situation is under control, noting that the treatment is ongoing and the patients are all stable in the isolation ward.

Toro cautioned the public against consuming meat which is not inspected by the authorities.

He said the county government has dispatched public health and veterinary officers to all abattoirs in the area to establish the source of the disease and take precautionary measures to curb the spread of disease.

It is suspected the patients were infected after they came into contact with infected meat during the course of their work.

Anthrax, a life-threatening disease that normally affects animals especially ruminants, is spread by contact with the spores of the bacteria, which are often from infectious animal products.

Animals killed by anthrax must be buried in a deep pit and the area burnt in order to kill the germs. Toro appealed to livestock traders to be more vigilant to curb the spread of the disease.

Vaccines against Anthrax for use in livestock and humans have had a prominent place in the history of medicine.
It can be transmitted to humans by contact with infected animals or their products.

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