Lesotho on anthrax outbreak alert

Spores from the Sterne strain of anthrax bacteria
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An alert about an outbreak of anthrax has been issued in neighbouring Lesotho.

The outbreak was in the region of Maseru, the capital city of the mountain kingdom. A 10km radius has been quarantined. Lesotho’s Health Ministry has confirmed the outbreak.

Farmers from Ha-Tseka were warned not to take their products to a Maseru trade fair. Even animal movement between Free State and Lesotho will be restricted.

Khotso Mahomo, from the International Health Regulations Focal Point in Lesotho, named the affected areas in Lesotho.

“So far we have the Ladybrand, Maseru zone. We also have Mafeteng as well as Zastron, Wepener… We also have Maputsoe, Botha Bothet, we also have Thabo Mofutsanyane. So those are the three zones that we have; we have also communicated with them. They are also taking steps so that there is no movement of animals and there is no trade of any kind…And people are also aware that there is some kind of disease we are dealing with here.”

However, many still don’t know what anthrax is or how to deal with it.

Dr Relebohile Lepheana, District Veterinary Officer, says that the disease is mostly found in herbivores.  “Anthrax is notifiable zuinosis which affects all warm blooded animals. But, it is mainly a disease of herbivores, being cattle, sheep and goats. It can get to humans by handling or eating contaminated animal carcasses…there is not too much scare, as long as long you know where your meat is coming from…an abattoir, a slaughter house; you are still very safe.”

Nearby communities are urged to exercise caution before consuming animals that may have died under unknown circumstance.