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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Anthrax on the rise: 3 humans infected

By Alfred Koroma

Three humans are reported to have been infected with anthrax disease since its outbreak was discovered in animals last week, the Minister of Agriculture, Abubakar Karim is reported to have confirmed the report of the human cases.  

The three human cases were detected in Port Loko District, Northern-West region of Sierra Leone. 

Anthrax is an animal- based infectious disease caused by a spore- forming bacterium mainly in animals. Humans are infected through contacts with infected animals or by inhaling the spores. It is caused by bacteria that occur naturally in soil.

Symptoms of anthrax exposure include skin ulcers, nausea, vomiting and fever.  It can lead to death if left untreated. Anthrax can be deadly, but often it does not spread so easily if measures are put in place to curtail it outbreak. It can be treated with antibiotics but treatment of patients needs to start shortly after infection.

Anthrax bacteria largely survive as spores that hide away in soil for years before entering an animal through a cut or wound. The people most at risk of having the disease are those who handle dead animals.

Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security together with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation put out a joint press release dated 16th May, announcing the outbreak of the of the disease among animals in Port Loko District. 

This is the first time Sierra Leone is again experiencing outbreak of anthrax after 28 years. The infectious disease was first detected in the country in 1994.

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