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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 10, 2023  2 months, 2 weeks, 23 hours, 8 minutes ago

BREAKING Medical News! New Strains Of Anthrax Could Be At Play In Various Countries In Africa! 684 Cases, 4 deaths In Zambia Alone! Potential Global Crisis!

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BREAKING Medical News! New Strains Of Anthrax Could Be At Play In Various Countries In Africa! 684 Cases, 4 deaths In Zambia Alone! Potential Global Crisis!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 10, 2023  2 months, 2 weeks, 23 hours, 8 minutes ago
Medical News: In recent months, a specter of health crises has silently descended upon several African nations, with anthrax outbreaks emerging as a particularly potent threat to both human and animal populations. The situation in Zambia is particularly dire, where an alarming 684 cases and four fatalities have been reported, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare the situation 'unprecedented.' This Medical News report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the unfolding anthrax outbreaks in Zambia, Uganda, and unexpected cases even in the United States in North Dakota, shedding light on the multifaceted challenges they present to global health.


                        Anthrax Bacteria 
 
Anthrax in Zambia
The anthrax outbreak in Zambia initially raised concerns in June when 26 individuals developed painful sores on their face, arms, and fingers after consuming wild animal meat. Since then, the number of suspected human cases has skyrocketed to 684, with fatalities reported in nine out of Zambia's ten provinces. Anthrax, a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, is known to transfer from animals to humans, affecting primarily cows, sheep, and goats. The bacteria produce highly potent toxins, resulting in a disturbingly high lethality rate.
https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/uk-news/anthrax-now-spread-after-684-28259664
 
WHO's Assessment and Concerns
The WHO has expressed profound concern regarding the potential escalation of the anthrax outbreak within Zambia and its potential spillover into neighboring countries. The high risk is attributed to unrestricted animal movement and carcasses within and between provinces, coupled with the frequent movement of both animals and people across borders, especially with countries such as Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2023-DON497
 
Clinical Presentations and Spread
An in-depth investigation has uncovered alarming findings from September 2022 to January 2023, revealing 42 suspected cases of anthrax in humans at the Dengeza Health Post in Zambia. The disease presents in three clinical forms: cutaneous or skin anthrax, gastrointestinal anthrax, and pulmonary anthrax. The epidemic is spreading along the provinces located along the Zambezi, Kafue, and Luangwa rivers, creating a heightened risk of transmission to neighboring countries.
 
Challenges in Control and International Spread
The WHO report underscores the formidable challenges in controlling the outbreak, emphasizing the high risk of international spread due to unburied carcasses of wild animals floating in rivers. These carcasses not only contribute to the spread of the bacterium but also pose a risk of infections to other regions and neighboring countries. Concurrent public health emergencies in Zambia, including cholera, measles, and COVID-19, further limit the country's capacities to respond adequately to the anthrax outbreak. The presence of highly resistant spores in the environment adds another layer of complexity to containment efforts.
 
Uganda's Ban on Beef Products
Beyond Zambia, Uganda is grappling with its anthrax outbreak, originating in the Kyotera district. The situation has reached a critical point with at least 17 reported deaths and over 20 individuals bedridden in various villages. Authorities in Uganda have implemented a ban on the sale of beef products and restricted the movement of cattle in affected areas to control the outbreak. The concerning trend of affected individuals seeking solace in shrines rather than healthcare facilities raises fears that containment efforts may be impeded.
https://www.africanews.com/2023/12/09/beef-products-banned-in-uganda-amid-anthrax-outbreak/
 
Symptoms and Global Precautions
Anthrax, caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, poses a severe threat to both human and animal populations. Humans primarily acquire the infection through exposure to infected animals, carcasses, or animal products. Symptoms vary based on the type of exposure, including cutaneous, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary manifestations. International travelers to anthrax-endemic countries are strongly advised to be aware of regulations concerning the importation of prohibited animal products, trophies, and souvenirs.

North Dakota's Cattle Anthrax Cases
The anthrax concerns extend beyond African borders, reaching the United States, where North Dakota reports an unusual number of cattle anthrax cases. The most recent case in Grant County brings the total to 25 for the year. Unusually mild weather conditions have allowed the disease to thrive, resulting in approximately 170 cattle deaths. Vaccination efforts are underway, underscoring the rarity of anthrax outbreaks in the U.S. and the importance of preventive measures.
https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2023-12-01/agriculture-officials-confirm-25th-case-of-cattle-anthrax-in-north-dakota-this-year
 
Researchers Warn That Possibly New Strains Of Anthrax Have Emerged.
Scientist are warning that the manner by which anthrax is spreading rapidly across various geolocations in Africa and infecting humans indicate that possible new strains of Anthrax could have emerged. Studies are currently underway to validate these claims.
 
Europe And Middle East Likely To Be Next To See Anthrax Infections.
Scientists are also warning the parts of Europe and the Middle-east are also likely to see anthrax infections within the next few weeks. They also warned that as in most cases, initial symptoms of Anthrax cases are similar to various respiratory infections, there is a very high possibility that many initial infections could initially go undetected while allowing its spread!
 
Conclusion
As the world grapples with these unfolding anthrax crises in Africa and the unexpected cases in the United States, urgent international collaboration and coordinated efforts are imperative. The challenges posed by concurrent public health emergencies, high-risk environments, and the potential for international spread demand a multifaceted and proactive response. Vigilance, preparedness, and decisive actions are paramount to mitigate the potential global impact of the anthrax outbreaks and safeguard the health and well-being of populations worldwide.
 
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