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Anthrax outbreak: One-month ban on animal movement in Upper East Region

The Upper East Regional Public Health Emergency Management Committee has extended the ban on movement, slaughtering, sale and consumption of cattle and small ruminants and their products to the entire region.

The ban which also prevents animals from entering the region became necessary after two more districts recorded cases of the anthrax diseases that broke out in the region a week ago, increasing the number of the affected districts to four.

So far, Bolgatanga Municipal, Talensi, Bawku West and Binduri Districts have recorded cases of the disease which has so far killed one person and infected 13 others.

The disease has also killed nine cattle and 24 sheep and goats in the affected districts.

At a press conference held in Bolgatanga, Mr Stephen Yakubu, the Chairman of the Committee noted that the ban which was initially placed on only districts in the Eastern corridor of the region had been extended to the entire region due to the latest cases in recorded in Bolgatanga Municipal and the Talensi District where the disease killed two cattle on June 7, 2023.

The move, he said, was to protect the lives of people and animals and prevent the outbreak from becoming a national issue.

Mr Yakubu, who is also the Upper East Regional Minister, revealed that the anthrax vaccination had also been extended to cover the entire Region was free of charge.

The Regional Minister directed various state institutions including the Municipal and District Chiefs Executives, Environmental health officers, veterinary officers, the police, the military, the Immigration, food and Drugs Authority and all heads of entry points to the region to ensure the directive.

Mr Yakubu called on the media to avoid creating fear and seek information from the right authorities to better inform the public about the disease to ensure that they availed their animals for vaccination and avoid touching and eating sick and dead animals.

“We, therefore, urge you the press to support to educate the community leadership and members, to report any dead animals to the nearest veterinary officers, health officers, community health volunteers and environmental health officers.

“We also urge you to educate the public that any person that has fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, headache, skin rashes and convulsions to report immediately to the nearest health facility,” he said.

Anthrax disease is a rare, but serious bacteria and zoonotic illness that is caused by spore-forming bacterium called bacillus anthraces.

It mainly affects animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, dogs among others but can affect humans through contact or eating an infected animal.

The region recorded its first case this year on June 1, 2023, at Bansi community in Binduri District and Sapeliga, in the Bawku West District where one person was confirmed dead, and 11 others infected after consuming dead cattle.

So far, 1,068 cattle, 757 sheep and 514 goats have been vaccinated by the veterinary services as at midday Wednesday, June 7, 2023.


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