Anthrax attack in Binduri: Five things to know about the disease

The Ghana Health Service has asked districts sharing borders with Binduri in the Upper East Region of Ghana to be on a high alert following the death of one person after eating the carcass of an anthrax-infected dead cow

A June 1 statement, signed by the Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Emmanuel Dzotsi, said that contact tracing has begun as part of efforts to stop the spread.

“On June 1, 2023, the Regional Health Directorate received notification of two suspected anthrax cases with one death in Binduri District following the consumption of dead cattle. In all, four cattle have died in the affected community. So far, eleven suspected cases have been identified, and contact tracing efforts are underway in the affected community,” Dr Dzotsi said.

The statement from the Ghana Health Service, Upper East Region.

What is Anthrax, and how does infection occur?

Anthrax is an infectious disease that affects domestic and wild animals. It can cause severe human illness through direct or indirect contact with sick animals. 

“People can get infected if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products,” the US Center for Disease Control has said.

Is it contagious?

Unlike COVID-19, anthrax is not contagious. However, discharges from skin lesions might be infectious. “Usually, anthrax bacteria enter the body through a wound in the skin. You can also become infected by eating contaminated meat or inhaling the spores,” Mayo Clinic has shared.

How do I know you have been infected?

The symptoms vary depending on the type of infection. But the symptoms can include skin sores, fever, chills, body aches, swellings, and vomiting.

What do I do if I suspect an infection?

As always, seeking prompt medical care in such instances is crucial. Doctors will assess the situation and will take necessary action. 

“If you develop signs and symptoms of the disorder after exposure to animals or animal products in parts of the world where anthrax is common, seek prompt medical attention.” Medics at Mayo Clinic have advised that early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

Can it cause death?

If the infection is left untreated, it may cause death. The mortality rates vary depending on the type of infection.

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