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Anthrax outbreak worries doctors, over 200 people infected

The disease is generally regarded as being non-contagious. (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Ministry of Health has confirmed that over 200 have been infected with anthrax in four districts in West Nile and South Western Uganda.

About 236 cases have been recorded in the districts of Arua, Kiruhura, Isingiro, and Kween from 2017 up today and that many people were at risk of catching the disease which is common in animals.

This was revealed during the fourth National Field Epidemiology Conference on Friday at Imperial Royale hotel.

Dr Alex Ario, the Acting director, Uganda National Institute of Public Health at Ministry of Health tasked government to ensure animal health if the country is to control anthrax.

Anthrax is an infection caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. These bacteria make spores, a form of the germ covered by a protective shell.

The spores can live for years in the soil, and they cause anthrax when they enter the body.

A person with Anthrax if treated, the survival rate is at 98%.

Dr Ario said if the government does not address the problem of Anthrax from animal side, it would continue to spread to infect people as some farmers cannot afford the cost to vaccinate their animals against Anthrax.

He urged the government to come up with a policy on vaccination of animals.

Humans generally acquire the disease directly or indirectly from infected animals, or occupational exposure to infected or contaminated animal products. (FILE PHOTO)

Arua district had the highest number of anthrax in humans with a total number of 102 reported between 2015 to date followed by Isingiro with 60 cases reported last year, 52 cases in Kween district and 22 cases in Kiruhura were registered this year.

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