Zim reports anthrax outbreak

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by Simplicious Chirinda

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday reported a fresh outbreak of anthrax in some parts of the country.

Veterinary Services director Stewart Hargreaves told ZimOnline that his department has recorded fresh reports of an outbreak of the deadly livestock disease.

"There has been an outbreak over the past two weeks. The outbreak has been recorded in Chegutu, Karoi, Kadoma and Chinhoyi," said Hargreaves. "The situation is under control, there is no need to panic because anthrax is a common disease. It's in the soil."

While Zimbabwe experiences periodic outbreaks of anthrax especially during the rainy season veterinary experts say the high incidence of outbreaks in recent years is partly fuelled by lawlessness and chaos in the farming sector where hardliner supporters of President Robert Mugabe have continued invading farms.

"The disease is made worse by the constant movement of livestock on farms because of continuing invasions," the Commercial Farmers Union said in a statement last week. The union represents the country's few remaining white commercial farmers.

Anthrax is a soil-borne disease that infects livestock and can easily spread to people if they eat meat from infected livestock.

The disease is normally recorded during the rainy season when sprouting grass brings out the bacteria from soil.

The anthrax outbreak comes at a time Zimbabwe's government is battling to rebuild the national herd that was severely depleted by droughts and a chaotic land reform exercise that began a decade ago. - ZimOnline