One dead, another in hospital as suspected anthrax outbreak hits in Kisumu

Wednesday March 18 2020

Villagers showing symptoms of anthrax in Mowlem village were taken to hospital for check-up. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


One person has died of suspected anthrax and another hospitalised in Kisumu, officials say.

The disease was reported in Mowlem, Kisumu County government said in a statement released Friday morning.

“We have cases of suspected anthrax in the county. Two people were admitted to hospital Thursday and one has since died,” Dr Jonathan Billis, who is the Health officer in Kisumu Central Sub-County, said.

Dr Billis called on all health workers in the county to be on high alert of patients exhibiting symptoms such as sores, swellings, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pains.

He urged locals to watch out for signs and symptoms including face inflammation, breathing problems and unexplained wounds.

Anthrax is caused by bacillus anthracis bacterium. It affects livestock, wild animals and humans and can kill within 24 hours.

Outbreaks of the disease are high-impact because animals die suddenly, usually in increasing numbers.

The deaths are soon followed by human cases of sudden illness with severe abdominal and chest pains, headaches, diarrhoea, vomiting and deaths.

Most patients will say they had eaten meat from dead animals or animals that were slaughtered when sickly.

According to Dr Joseph Mugachia, a veterinary doctor, animals infected with anthrax normally die suddenly without showing any signs.

“Never open the carcass of a dead animal or slaughter and eat sickly animals.

"Second, never eat meat that has not been inspected by a qualified inspector and always report cases of sick and dead animals to your animal health service provider,” Dr Mugachia advised.