March 22, 2018

More than 100 hippos killed in possible anthrax outbreak in Namibia

11 October 2017, 01:23 | Lena Norman

Page no 1by Lugeretzia Kooper Anthrax kills 109 hippos in Bwabwata

Page no 1by Lugeretzia Kooper Anthrax kills 109 hippos in Bwabwata

More than 100 hippos have died in a remote Namibian national park in the past week and officials are warning that anthrax could be to blame, according to the BBC.

Agence France-Presse reports that some veterinary experts in the southwestern African country believe the sudden deaths may have been caused by anthrax. Apollinaris Kannyinga, Bwabwata National Park director said that last week Sunday, they noticed the deaths of 10 hippos but the number increased in this week.

Director of parks and wildlife management at Namibia's Ministry for the Environment and Tourism, Colgar Sikopo said that the same case has happened in Zambia before and it mainly occurs during the low level of the river. "The cause of death is unknown but the signs so far show that it could be anthrax", Minister for Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta told AFP.

Human cases of anthrax are also common in Africa, which has the flawless climate for the disease; approximately 2,000 people are affected by anthrax each year in Africa alone.

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Irowa Osamwonyi, who spoke in an interview with reporters, said there was nothing to worry about the outbreak of the disease. However, it is important for people to take note of the fact that prevention is better than cure.

He said crocodiles and vultures are feeding were feeding on the corpses of the hippos, and that local people needed to be aware they should not eat the meat as it may be contaminated with anthrax.

It's now unclear if there have been more deaths than the reported 109, as local wildlife such as crocodiles and vultures have been consuming the bodies. Bwabwata, one of the country's top tourist attractions. However, officials said it's a scene they've seen before.

At the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda in 2004, more than 300 hippos died from anthrax poisoning.

He also said they are now monitoring the situation, and that the dead hippos are yet to be disposed of.

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