Anthrax is caused by a bacterium called bacillus anthracis that is carried through anthrax organisms that live in the soil for a long time.
In the soil where they live, anthrax organisms exist in a dormant form called spores. These spores are hard and difficult to destroy.
Most of the spores come after serious weather changes, for example, when there is drought and the ground is almost bare. As the animals comb the area in search of minerals from the soil, they are exposed to the spores and then anthrax is born.
Also due to excessive rains, landslides occur. When they occur, the soils open up and the spores come out of the soil and remain on the surface, making it easy for animals to pick them up as they graze.
How anthrax is spread
Most outbreaks occur in areas where animals have previously died of anthrax, as the spores remain alive for decades.
Anthrax can be spread by vultures, hyenas, dogs, scavengers, farm tools and people, who come into contact with the sick animal.
Adverse weather conditions such as floods, which wash the spores from high to low lands and drought, which leaves the ground bare, enable the spores to come up.
Anthrax can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals or their products.
Signs and symptoms.
Animals stop eating.
There is quick progression from normal health conditions to death in a matter of hours.
Most animals are simply found dead.
Animals become weak, they develop fever and there is first excitement, followed by depression, difficulty in breathing, uncoordinated movements and convulsions.
There is bloody discharges from the natural body openings. Edema is present in different parts of the body.
After death, the animal’s body rapidly decomposes.
Signs and symptoms of anthrax in humans
Development of dark-coloured, painless sores within three to 10 days after exposure.
Abdominal pain, severe breathing difficulties, shock, fever and flu.
Farmers should vaccinate their animals whenever there is an outbreak, especially people whose farms border wildlife conservation areas.
When there is an outbreak, the movement and sale of animal products such as meat, milk, hides and skin and ghee should be stopped.
Educate the communities to report any sudden death of animals to the veterinary doctor for advice and to establish the cause of the death.
An animal suspected to have died of anthrax, should not be slaughtered until a veterinary doctor has checked and established the cause of death.
Once confirmed, dead animals should be buried six feet deep and the burial place disinfected using lime, which kills the maggots that could easily carry the bacteria that cause anthrax.
This also prevents scavengers, hyenas and dogs from spreading the diseases through parts of the animal they carry from the dead animal.
A vet should be called in case of the sudden death of an animal to establish the cause of death before coming into contact with an animal.
Persons working on the farm should observe hygiene. Wash all tools and clothes that came into contact with the dead animal with disinfectants.