Human-animal anthrax outbreak in the Luangwa valley of Zambia in 2011.

Author(s): Dr. Bernard Hang’ombe

There has been a reduction of incidences of anthrax in the developed countries but it is still a public health problem in the developing countries where communities live in interface areas with wildlife. An outbreak of anthrax in Hippopotamus amphibious was observed in Zambia. Following the death of hippopotamuses, suspected human cases were reported. The objective of this study was to isolate and confirm Bacillus anthracis and to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility for the management of the disease. Of the specimens collected, 29.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.4-56.0) were from humans, 42.1% (95% CI, 21.1-66.0) were from hippopotamuses and 20.0% (95% CI, 6.61-44.3) from the soil were found to be positive were for B. anthracis. An antimicrobial susceptibility test revealed that all the isolates were found to be sensitive to the recommended antibiotics. The disease control was achieved by case management and by explaining to the communities that they should avoid contact with animals that die from unknown causes.


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