PRO/EAFR> Anthrax – Kenya: (Muranga) update


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Tue 23 May 2023
Source: Outbreak News Today [edited]

The World Health Organization reports on an anthrax outbreak in
Muranga County in central Kenya

Since 10 Apr 2023, a total of 15 cases and 3 deaths (20% case
fatality) have been reported from 5 sub counties; Gatanga (1), Kandara
(5, including 2 deaths), Kigumo (7, including 1 death, Maragwa (1),
and Mathioya (1).

It is not disclosed what type of anthrax is implicated and how it was

Anthrax is a bacterial pathogen in livestock and wild animals.
Ruminants such as bison, cattle, sheep, and goats are highly
susceptible, and horses can also be infected. Anthrax is a very
serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the
rapid loss of a large number of animals in a very short time. Affected
animals are often found dead with no illness detected.

When conditions become favorable, the spores germinate into colonies
of bacteria. An example would be a grazing cow ingests spores that in
the cow, germinate, grow spread and eventually kill the animal.
Anthrax is caused by the bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. This spore
forming bacteria can survive in the environment for decades because of
its ability to resist heat, cold, drying, etc. This is usually the
infectious stage of anthrax.

There are no reports of person-to-person transmission of anthrax.
People get anthrax by handling contaminated animal or animal products,
consuming undercooked meat of infected animals, and more recently,
intentional release of spores.

There are 3 types of human anthrax with differing degrees of
seriousness: cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and inhalation.

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