Anthrax Outbreak Suspected in Ibanda District, Uganda

Five individuals in Ibanda district have been hospitalized due to suspected anthrax contamination after consuming meat, resulting in their admission to Ibanda Hospital. The affected residents, hailing from Rugaaga I&IV and Rwensambya village in Keihangara sub-counties, were reported to have exhibited symptoms associated with anthrax.

Anthrax, a non-contagious zoonotic disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is prevalent in both wild and domestic animals, including cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and antelopes. In humans, the disease may manifest after contact with contaminated carcasses or animal products, such as milk and meat.

Vincent Mugisha, the Ibanda District Surveillance Officer, received information from Kicence Health Center III’s in-charge about two initial cases exhibiting anthrax-related symptoms. Three additional cases with similar symptoms were reported at Keihagara Health Center.

Mugisha stated that blood samples were collected from both animals and affected individuals, sent for testing to confirm the presence of anthrax. He suggested the disease might have originated from Kiruhura, a district sharing animal markets and grazing farms with Ibanda, in addition to sharing a border with Lake Mburo National Park.

According to Godard Serushuba, the LC I Chairperson of Rugaaga IV Cell, the affected individuals had consumed the meat of cows that had died without displaying any signs of illness. Meat dealers bought the carcasses at low prices and distributed the meat to other sub-counties, where it was sold at reduced rates. Subsequently, those who consumed the meat reported symptoms such as skin sores and vomiting.

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