Anthrax Outbreak Hits Animal Preserves
HARARE, Zimbabwe An outbreak of anthrax has killed at least 1,500 wild game animals in nature preserves in southeastern Zimbabwe, a state-run newspaper reports.
The Herald newspaper reported that Dr. Stuart Hargreaves, head of livestock and veterinary services in the Agriculture Ministry, said most of the deaths occurred in the past three weeks in the remote Malangwe and Save preserves, about 480 kilometers (300 miles) south of Harare.
Hargreaves said about 700 big game animals including rhinoceros and buffalo were vaccinated against the hemorrhagic disease. The carcasses of at least 1,400 smaller plains animals, including common antelope-like species, were burned, he said.
He said the outbreak, one of the largest reported in a wildlife area, was waning.
There were no immediate reports of human deaths in the outbreak. The preserves are adjacent to the huge unpopulated Gonarezhou national park.
Natural anthrax is endemic in Zimbabwe where its bacillus spores can live for decades in dry soil and are ingested by animals ruminating for remnants of vegetation in the driest months of September and October.
It is normally transmitted to people who cut up, carry or eat the meat of dead animals.