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Published Date: 2018-04-09 14:51:42
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Anthrax - Uganda: (AX) bovine, human, refugee camp, RFI
Archive Number: 20180409.5735432
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Thu 6 Apr 2018 19:19:32 EAT
Source: Xinhua News Agency [edited]

Anthrax has broken out at a refugee camp in the northwestern Ugandan district of Arua, killing one person and leaving 2 others hospitalized, a local official said [Fri 30 Mar 2018]. Willy Nguma, the veterinary officer in Arua district, told Xinhua that blood samples taken from 3 people at a refugee settlement camp in Arua have tested positive for anthrax. "2 other victims are still undergoing treatment as more people are at the risk of contracting this deadly disease because many of them are sharing houses with animals," Nguma said.

South Sudanese refugees who fled the fighting at home live in the camp. "The challenge is that when these refugees cross to Uganda, the humanitarian agencies only screen human beings and ignore animals, which is very dangerous," Nguma said.

He advised farmers in the area to report any suspected death of animals where there are signs of blood oozing from the nostrils and anus. More than 15 animals have died as a result of anthrax, Nguma said.

An anthrax outbreak was last reported in Uganda in 2016 [28 Jul 2016 Anthrax, foot & mouth disease - Uganda: (NT) bovine 20160728.4376301] The authorities in the western district of Ntungamo were forced to close all livestock markets in the area to prevent the spread of the disease.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by _Bacillus anthracis_. According to the World Health Organization, the disease primarily affects herbivorous mammals, although other mammals and some birds have been known to contract it. Humans generally acquire the disease from infected animals or as a result of exposure to contaminated animal products.

[Editor: Lifang]

Communicated by:

[Arua is on the north-west border of Uganda with the Democratic Republic of Congo. See a description and map, go to

Anthrax is sporadic in Uganda and likely to therefore go unrecognised and unreported. Willy Nguma, the veterinary officer in Arua district, made a very sound comment that when the 1st cases are seen in humans the probable source in livestock or wildlife gets ignored, thereby facilitating more human cases. And in this instance Nguma found over 15 animals dead from anthrax; I think we can safely assume, at this point, that cattle were affected. And it was the meat from butchered animals sold in the refugee camp, which resulted in the 5 human cases, probably cutaneous anthrax from handling this contaminated meat. Clarification of this would be greatly appreciated. - Mod.MHJ

HealthMap/ProMED-mail map
Arua District, Uganda:]

See Also

Anthrax, foot & mouth disease - Uganda: (NT) bovine 20160728.4376301
Anthrax, human, bovine - Uganda (03): (Western) conf 20111111.3343
Anthrax, human, bovine - Uganda (02): (Western) 20111108.3322
Anthrax, human, bovine - Uganda: (Western) 20111107.3316
and other items in the archives

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