Anthrax toll rises to five in Namibia

Five people have now died in the Omaheke region of Namibia from an illness that is believed to be either anthrax or Congo fever.

Initial test results proved to be inconclusive and new samples have since been sent to South Africa for more extensive analysis, according to

Dr. Jack Vries, the chairperson of the Namibian National Health Emergency Management Committee, said that he expects the results of the second round of testing within a week.

"We don't know whether it is anthrax or not," Vries said, reports.

Vries said that the victims had intestinal symptoms that included diarrhea and vomiting, which is atypical of anthrax.

Two of the victims worked together at a dairy farm and died after eating beef from the same cow. The owner of the farm, Japie Engelbrecht, said that his farm is doing poorly in the wake of reports about the outbreak. The dairy is currently under quarantine and Engelbrecht is denying reports that he might not have vaccinated his animals against anthrax.

Dr. John Shoopala, the acting chief veterinary officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, said that an investigation showed Engelbrecht had not properly vaccinated his livestock.

"They are lying," Engelbrecht said, reports.