Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research;Volume 54, Number 1

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Ecology and epidemiology of anthrax in cattle and humans in Zambia

Siamudaala, Victor M.;Bwalya, John M.;Munang'andu, Hetron M.;Sinyangwe, Peter G.;Banda, Fred;Mweene, Aaron S.;Takada, Ayato;Kida, Hiroshi

Permalink : http://hdl.handle.net/2115/13690
KEYWORDS : Anthrax;Disease Control;Livestock;Socio-economic impact;Zambia

Abstract

Anthrax is endemic in Western and North-western Provinces of Zambia. The disease occurs throughout the year and impacts negatively on the economy of the livestock industry and public health in Zambia. During 1989-1995, there were 1,626 suspected cases of anthrax in cattle in Western province and of these51were confirmed. There were 220 cases of human anthrax cases in 1990 alone and 248 cases during 1991-1998 with 19.1% and 7.7% case fatality rates, respectively. Interplay of the ecology of affected areas and anthropogenic factors seem to trigger anthrax epidemics. Anthrax has drawn considerable attention in recent years due to its potential use as a biological weapon. In this paper, the history, current status and approaches towards the control of the disease in Zambia are discussed. Quarantine measures restrict trade of livestock and exchange of animals for draught power resulting in poor food security at household levels. Challenges of anthrax control are complex and comprise of socio-political, economical, environmental and cultural factors. Inadequate funding, lack of innovative disease control strategies and lack of cooperation from stakeholders are the major constraints to the control of the disease. It is hoped that the information provided here will stimulate continued awareness for the veterinary and medical authorities to maintain their surveillance and capabilities against the disease. This may lead to a culminating positive impact on livestock and human health in the southern African region.

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