It’s one one of the most fatal disease in ruminant animals due to the extreme potent toxins produced by the bacteria. Anthrax management require the breakdown of the disease transmission cycle in the most logical
Disease category: Bacterial disease and it’s also Zoonotic
Causative agent: Bacteria, Bacillus anthracis.
Animals affected: All ruminants.
Carnivore infection: Infection occur when carnivores such as dogs consume infected meat.
Human infection: Infection occurs when one inhales, ingest (eat contaminated meat or gets in contact with infected carcass.
Anthrax forms that cause threat to general public
- Gastrointestinal form: Occurs when people or animals such as dogs consume infected meat.
- Cutaneous form: Occurs when people get exposed to the disease spores, manifested by skin ulcers with dark centres.
- Pulmonary form: Occurs when carcass is opened and the spores inhaled, also may occur when working on wool or hides from affected animals.
Mode of transmission
The bacterial spores overwinter in the soil and animals get infected when they graze on soils infected with the spores. The spores germinate, multiply rapidly and enter into the animal’s body where they produce toxins that destroy blood vessels eventually killing the host animal.
Signs and symptoms
- Bleeding from all natural orifices/openings such as mouth, nose, ears and anus.
- Blood does clot and the carcass never stiffens.
- Sudden death of animals with little indications that the animals were sick.
- Shortly before death there are signs of trembling, fever, difficulty in breathing, collapsing and convulsion.
Disease prevention and treatment
- Treatment is by bacteriocidal antibiotics.
- Animal vaccination especially during disease outbreak.
- Clean and disinfect clothes and footwear that come into contact with contaminated soil or dead animal.
- Avoid opening carcass as when exposed to air the bacteria form spores that are spread in pulmonary form of the disease.
- Dispose off the carcasses of infected animals to avoid further spread of the disease (either by burning or bury them deep with quick lime.
- Comply to quarantine measures, liaise with livestock officers when purchasing animals outside your region/county.
- Remain vigilant and report any cases of sudden death of animals to your vet
- If you note the signs discussed above never touch the animal with bare hands, never allow any contact with the oozing blood/.fluid from dead animals to avoid infection
- Never slaughter dead animals for meat meant for human or dog feeding.