ibusinesslines.com September 23, 2018

Anthrax may have caused the sudden death of 100 hippos

11 October 2017, 01:21 | Melissa Porter

Officials say such outbreaks are not uncommon and usually happen when water in the Kavango River runs low

Officials say such outbreaks are not uncommon and usually happen when water in the Kavango River runs low

More than 100 hippos have died in Namibia in a remote national park in the past week, the country's environment minister said on Monday, warning that anthrax could be to blame.

More than 100 hippopotamuses have died over the past week in Bwabwata National Park, in northeast Namibia, leaving authorities scrambling to explain the cause.

"This is a situation that we have seen before", Colgar Sikopo, director of parks and wildlife management, says in a New Era article.

"Our veterinary services are now working at the area to determine the cause of death. The cause of death is unknown but the signs so far show that it could be anthrax", Pohamba Shifeta told AFP.

ABOUT 109 hippos have been killed in a suspected anthrax outbreak in western Bwabwata National Park in a week.

Human cases of anthrax are also common in Africa, which has the ideal climate for the disease; approximately 2,000 people are affected by anthrax each year in Africa alone. He cautioned that the correct loss of life could be higher because of the likelihood that crocodiles may have eaten a portion of the remains.

There were an estimated 1,300 hippos in Namibia before the latest deaths, so this means a significant proportion of them are affected.

It's now unclear if there have been more deaths than the reported 109, as local wildlife such as crocodiles and vultures have been consuming the bodies.

Kannyinga also said such outbreaks were frequent. One service official said Namibia had never observed anything like this.

Humans can become exposed to the spores by handling infected animals tissues or pelts or by breathing them in, which is especially deadly, according to the FDA.

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