An outbreak of cutaneous anthrax in Zambia was linked to contact with the meat from hippos that had died from the bacterial illness.
An outbreak of cutaneous anthrax in Zambia was linked to contact with the meat from hippos that had died from the bacterial illness.

Hippos in Luangwa River in Chama district in Muchinga Province are reportedly dying from suspected Anthrax disease.

Confirming the development to ZANIS, Chama District Commissioner (DC), Leonard Ngoma said a team from the University of Zambia (UNZA) has since visited the affected areas to collect samples for testing.

Mr. Ngoma said results for the samples taken are yet to be released to confirm if the hippos are dying from suspected Anthrax or it is because of over population.

He said the affected areas are mainly in Chikwa and Chifunda Chiefdoms involving close to 8 villages.

The District Commissioner has since discouraged people in the area from eating meat from the carcass and any other animal that may have died from unknown causes as this could be a source of infection which could lead to severe illness and even death.

In October of 2016, Anthrax broke out in Chama district affecting over 40 people.

The outbreak was blamed on people handling, cutting, cooking, and eating meat from hippos that had died from Anthrax in the Luangwa River.

Last month, Cabinet approved three bills and resolved to reduce the hippo population along the Luangwa River following reports of damage to the environment.

Current population of the hippos in Luangwa River is at 13,000 which is beyond the carrying capacity of 9,000 on a 270km stretch.

This has caused considerable damage to the environment, river banks and continues to threaten the sustainability of the river system.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. “Mr. Ngoma said results for the samples taken are yet to be released to confirm if the hippos are dying from suspected Anthrax or it is because of over population.”

    This is why education is important….the results are not yet out and he is making careless statements, why is UNZA taking samples and not ZAWA or Ministry of Health.

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    • It’s known fact during the hot season there is survival of the fittest among the hippo as their fight for food and the little ponds of water they live in get filled up with their own waste. Come rain it will pass, that’s nature’s way of taking care of itself. Do not cull any.

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    • Dont these morons watch National Geo Wild on shows in Luangwa…Hippos overheat when the pools dry up….they just want to cull more these dingbats.

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    • Anthrax in animals is handled by Ministry of agriculture veterinary department and not ministry of Health. That is why you need to get educated…

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    • @jay jay, Anthrax in animals is handled by Ministry of agriculture veterinary department and not ministry of Health. That is why you need to get educated…

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    • At least I am not sending samples to UNZA and sitting on hands whilst publicly making utterly silly half baked statements in an official capacity without shame!!

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  2. Anthrax outbreaks continue to occur globally, more commonly in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Central and South America. Zambia has experienced more recently in 2016 two anthrax outbreaks affecting humans and animals in Muchinga and Western provinces. At no time was culling used an option for conserving affected humans, buffaloes and cattle. In the same vein, suspected anthrax outbreak in Luangwa should not be justification for culling the hippos

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  3. Thank FCU.K, the culling will have to be put on hold for now, as those who know anything about Anthrax, IT IS LETHAL! Any contact with the spores, you break out in serious boils all over your body & DIE chop chop!
    The spores can even survive for years under the soil.
    This needs proper decontamination & sterilisation.
    However my worry is if this is Not a case of Anthrax, then once confirmed, these Corrupt P.F Bandits go on & say “well Hippo’s are dying, due to overcrowding” & sell the licences to the Boers by the backdoor anyway.
    IN ZAMBIA UNDER THIS ROTTEN P.F, NOTHING IS TRANSPARENT, & STRAIGHTFORWARD ANYMORE!!

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  4. You guys instead of competing with one another, in terms of who is more knowledgeable, why don’t you come together as one and help these animals.That will be so sweet.
    Stop insulting or dissing each other.tipical Zambians.Hippos don’t know no politics.
    There’s no upnd or PF in the animal kingdom.

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  5. I don’t see the reason why unza has been given such a mandate to take the samples why not the ministry of agriculture and livestock to look after this, I don’t know now how special UNZA is on this compared to the ministry whose mandate is to take care of such issues..

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