Ghana: 2 die in anthrax outbreak – fear farmers sold infected animals to food outlet

The chief of Googo in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region, Naaba Akpaam Abugri, is alarmed that some farmers in the community whose animals died of anthrax sold such infected dead animals to a chop bar operator in the area.

Veterinary officers in the region, on Wednesday [25 Apr 2012], started the vaccination of cattle and other domestic animals except birdsb against anthrax, following the outbreak of the disease in that community which has claimed 2 human lives.

Although veterinary officers say 9 cows have died of the disease, Naaba Akpaam, briefed at Googo on Wednesday on the havoc caused by the disease, said about 30 cows and several donkeys,goats, sheep, and dogs had also died.

According to him, one of the farmers, who lost 8 cows, revealed that he had sold 6 of them to achop bar operator. Naaba Akpaam, who could not readily name the chop bar operator, and neither the specific location of the chop bar, said he had started making inquiries to know the owner and location of the bar, so that the remaining meat could be retrieved and destroyed to prevent the further spread of the disease.

He said some of the people who were infected with the disease had refused to be taken to the hospital,because they claimed if they went to the hospital and given injections, they would lose their lives.

The Upper East regional veterinary officer, Dr Thomas Anyorikeya, who is leading a team of veterinary personnel to carry out the vaccination exercise, disclosed that on Tuesday — day one of the exercise — 497 animals were vaccinated. They included 384 cattle, 86 sheep, 17 donkeys, 8 goats, and 5 dogs. On Thursday [26 Apr 2012], the 2nd day of the vaccination, 104 cattle were vaccinated by about 10:30 am. The number of the personnel on Thursday increased from 5 to 10, and they intended to vaccinate all the animals in the Googo community and adjoining ones such as Bazua and Sapelga.

Dr Anyorikeya was worried that for about 10 years now, no animals’census had been conducted. The annual animal census, which was being conducted by the Veterinary Service, provided a database of animals in the regions, districts, and communities, and helped in the operations of the service, including vaccinations.

Some of the personnel lamented that they did not have protective wear,such as gloves, wellington boots and overalls. This, they said,exposed them to risk in their line of operation.

The vaccination is expected to avert the further spread of the disease. Meanwhile, a ban on the movement of cattle has been imposed on the area.

Saturday, 28 April, 2012 at 09:29 (09:29 AM) UTC RSOE