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NO MORE BEEF! Thika Residents Warned of Deadly Disease Outbreak.

Flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, mild fever, fatigue and muscle aches, which may last a few hours or days are some of the initial signs and symptoms of inhalation this disease.
The department of health in Thika Sub-County on Wednesday issued a stern warning to the members of public to be cautious of a potentially fatal disease outbreak in the area after several people were brought to the Thika Level 5 Hospital with what is suspected to be an anthrax attack.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday at the Thika Level 5 Hospital, medical superintendent Dr. Andrew Jacob Toro confirmed that the facility had already admitted four cases who were now under surveillance after developing symptoms related to the disease. Dr. Toro said that they had already established an isolation ward for the patients because anthrax is a very contagious disease.

“Last Friday we received a patient who we suspected to have been infected with anthrax. This morning (Wednesday) we also received three male adults with similar symptoms. We have taken blood specimens to Vet lab in Kabete, Nairobi for confirmation.

He added that the county government (of Kiambu) had dispatched public health and veterinary officers to the region so as to establish its source as well take precaution measures to curb any spread of the disease to other areas with a surveillance team dispatched to the slaughterhouse yesterday which ordered its closure pending further investigation.

He however moved to assure the public that the situation was under control and there was no cause of alarm.

“There should be no cause of alarm and people should stay calm as we are taking all necessary action to contain the situation. Public health officers have already been dispatched to the abattoir involved and everything is under control,” said Dr. Toro.

As at Wednesday evening, the Thika main slaughterhouse was closed down after reports indicated that it probably had handled meat from the sick cows.

The patients, all from Kamenu Ward (Kiganjo and Makongeni Estate), are said to have been infected after coming into contact with affected meat, with no report of anyone said to have consumed any contaminated meat. They are all meat loaders at a slaughter house in Makongeni.

Dr. Toro appealed to livestock traders to be more vigilant in controlling the movement of livestock to contain further spread.

Residents have been warned against slaughtering livestock that is not inspected; especially those that fall ill and die. This deadly disease can easily be detected with clinical signs of bleeding from all openings of the animal thus causing sudden death.  The dead animal must be buried in a deep pit and the area burnt with strong fire to kill the germs.

Anthrax is an infection caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.  Anthrax can occur either through the skin, inhalation, intestinal, and injection.

The disease is spread by contact with the spores of the bacteria, which are often from infectious animal products. Contact is by breathing, eating, or through an area of broken skin. It does not typically spread directly between people.

Risk factors include people who work with animals or animal products, travelers and military personnel. Diagnosis can be confirmed based on finding antibodies or the toxin in the blood or by culture of a sample from the infected site.

Symptoms begin between one day and two months after the infection is contracted. The skin form presents with a small blister with surrounding swelling that often turns into a painless ulcer with a black center. The inhalation form presents with fever, chest pain, and shortness of breath while the intestinal form presents with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. The injection form presents with fever and an abscess at the site of drug injection.

Anthrax among humans is most common in Africa and central and Southern Asia. Globally, at least 2,000 cases occur every year. Skin infections represent more than 95% of cases. Without treatment the risk of death from skin anthrax is 24%.

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