Anthrax outbreak threatens Zambia

An outbreak of anthrax has occurred among the animals in the Luangwa district in Zambia, with the lower Zambezi national park the most affected.
A majority of the animals have died, including many hippos. Musole Siachisa, the Luangwa acting district commissioner, has appealed to people in the district not to touch or eat carcasses found floating in the river, ZNBC reports.
Siachisa has also appealed to citizens not to purchase hippo meat from traders crossing the borders from neighboring countries. According to Siachisa, there is a need for members of the public to cooperate with the government and medical personnel to make sure that the disease is brought under control.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is a disease caused by the spore-forming Bacillus anthracis bacterium. Spores are cells that remain dormant but can come to life in the right conditions. Humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals or by breathing in spores from infected animal products like wool. People can be infected with gastrointestinal anthrax by eating undercooked meat from infected animals.
Anthrax has also been used as a weapon, such as in the 2001 attacks through the postal service in the United States. In that attack, anthrax was spread deliberately by letters filled with anthrax powder, causing 22 cases of infection and five deaths.