Anthrax outbreak kills two in Ghana

An anthrax outbreak in the Upper East region of Ghana has led to two deaths after the victims consumed a dead animal that may have been infected with the deadly disease.

The incident occurred in the community of Googo. Thomas Anyarikeya, the regional veterinary officer, said that anthrax particularly affects ruminants and can be transmitted to humans from them. Ruminants are a type of mammal and include goats, sheep and cattle, GBC Ghana reports.

Anthrax is a lethal disease caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacterium. The bacterium forms dormant spores that can come to life when surrounded by the proper conditions. The three types of anthrax are cutaneous, inhalation and gastrointestinal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Humans can be infected by anthrax from handling products made from infected animals, by breathing in anthrax spores from animal products and by eating undercooked meat that comes from infected animals.

In 2001, anthrax was deliberately used as a weapon when it was spread through the United States postal service shortly after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. The letters were laced with anthrax-containing powder and infected 22 people. Five people died as a result of the attacks, which targeted government and media offices.