Anthrax vaccines sent to Ghana's Upper East region

After an anthrax outbreak killed two people in the Upper East region of Ghana, the Upper East Regional Health Service received approximately 3,400 vaccinations to administer to animals.

The outbreak occurred in the Bawku area and killed two people after the victims ate the meat of a dead animal that may have been infected with anthrax. Thomas Anyarikeya, the regional director of veterinary services, said that vaccination for each animal costs 20 peswas, which is approximately 28 U.S. cents, GBC Ghana reports.

The district assembly in the area has collaborated with veterinary services to mount a campaign to educate people on anthrax and the need to vaccinate animals. Anyarikeya said that ruminants, a type of mammal that includes cattle, sheep and goats, are particularly affected by anthrax.

Anthrax is a deadly disease caused by the spore-forming Bacillus anthracis bacterium. The spores can infect animals and humans through the skin, lungs and the gastrointestinal system. Humans can become infected by anthrax from eating undercooked meat that comes from infected animals, breathing in anthrax spores from infected animal products and by handling products made from infected animals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Anthrax was used as a weapon shortly after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the U.S. when it was sent deliberately through the postal system. Twenty-two people were infected and five people died.