Fear grows of spread of anthrax in Zimbabwe

Veterinary officials in Zimbabwe fear that the recent anthrax outbreak is spreading, announcing on Monday that they are testing another suspected case of the disease from a rural growth point approximately 31 miles east of Harare.

This new suspected case comes after the outbreak last week in central parts of the country that killed one person and 25 cattle.

Chenjerai Njagu, Veterinary Services Department deputy director, told Xinhua that the test results from the newest suspected case from the Goromonzi district's Juru Growth Point would be out today.

The potential affected area is one of the districts that was left ouf of a vaccination effort that was performed at the beginning of 2009.

"We left out Goromonzi and Seke districts because of shortage of vaccines," Njagu told Xinhua. "Now these are the areas giving us problems because we had not vaccinated them at the beginning of the year."

The Veterinary Services Department is expected to soon move into the area to begin vaccinations on cattle as the disease can be passed to humans through meat of infected animals.

Last week's outbreak in Seke, approximately 25 miles southeast of Harare, killed one person and 18 cattle. Over the Christmas holiday, more than 1,100 cattle in Seke were vaccinated though turnout was low.

"The turn out was low and we are going to repeat vaccination after the holiday," Njagu said.