Date: Mon 18 Feb 2019
Source: Xinhua [edited]
An outbreak of anthrax in Tanzania's southern highlands region of Songwe that killed 4 people in January 2019 is now under control, a senior official said on Monday [18 Feb 2019]. Songwe Regional Administrative Secretary David Kafulila said since the outbreak of the disease in the region on 10 Dec 2018 that regional authorities have taken measures aimed at ending the spread of the disease that left 81 people falling ill after they ate infected meat. "Since 7 Jan this year , we haven't recorded any new cases of anthrax in Songwe region," Kafulila told Xinhua in an interview.
Kafulila said measures taken by Songwe regional authorities to control the outbreak of the disease included vaccinating all livestock in the region. He said by 14 Feb 2019, a total of 20 181 head of cattle, 292 goats and 29 sheep were vaccinated. "Our target is to vaccinate the region's population of 123,219 head of cattle, 78,000 goats and 40,000 sheep," he said, adding that the region has bought 50,500 [doses of] vaccine, and more will be purchased through a revolving fund.
Last month , the Ministry of Health confirmed that the 4 people died after they ate meat suspected to have been contaminated with the bacteria that cause anthrax.
[So far, so good. But faced with an outbreak like this in an area of enzootic (repeated) outbreaks, the Tanzanian government should be considering repeated annual livestock vaccinations for the next 5 years. Over time, one can narrow it down to target specific areas of higher risk, i.e. of repeated outbreaks, but if so, one must have a high surveillance for the surrounding areas specifically for new cases (deaths).
A very interesting paper has just been published of niche modelling for anthrax in Tanzania. It is well worth reading and quietly considering its implications:
"Ecological niche modeling as a tool for prediction of the potential geographic distribution of _Bacillus anthracis_ spores in Tanzania. Elibariki R. Mwakapeje, Sood A. Ndimuligo, Gladys Mosomtai, Samuel Ayebare, Luke Nyakarahuka, Hezron E. Nonga, Robinson H. Mdegela, Eystein Skjerve. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 79, February 2019, Pages 142-151
If one is careful in the GPS location of cases, one can, in our experience, construct niche models with a resolution of 1 sq. km. The niche is essentially of potential survival of spores in soils. This can be used to identify where vaccination must be done and the levels of surveillance for expected and unexpected cases. They are of value in educating farmers and ranchers into why vaccination is so important and to get their collaboration. - ProMED Mod.MHJ]