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Fish die enmasse in Mlibizi river

Fish die enmasse in Mlibizi river
 Dr Nyasha Masuka

Dr Nyasha Masuka

Whinsley Masara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has said the anthrax outbreak affecting people in Binga is now under control, but there are reports of fish dying.

Anthrax-infected hippos started dying from March 27 and some people ate meat from their carcasses after the animals were found dead in Binga’s Mlibizi area.

Anthrax is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by bacteria that normally affects animals.

One person and 16 hippos died following the anthrax outbreak.

Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Nyasha Masuka said the human anthrax disease was under control.

“We are pleased to confirm that we have managed to contain the human anthrax outbreak as the number of infections hasn’t increased and that of deaths too,” he said.

Dr Masuka said they have adequate medicines and were treating the infected and those showing signs and symptoms of the disease.

“We are continuing to educate the community about not eating meat from animals that die on their own. We are also disinfecting areas where hippo meat was disposed or buried,” he said.

Binga District Administrator Mrs Lydia Ndethi-Banda said they had partnered the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Binga CPU, Binga RDC, the Environment Management Authourity and ZimParks as well as traditional leaders to control the outbreak.

“I believe we have enough resources as well as manpower to curb and control the outbreak both in humans and in animals. With the people, so far so good, all seems to be totally under control now.

“As I speak, I’m on the ground in the villages where we are holding awareness campaigns. Areas have been quarantined on meat; especially, beef, goat and we are destroying all biltong being sold at any market,” said Mrs Ndethi- Banda.

Zimparks acting public relations officer, Mr Simukai Nyasha said they had received a report on fish dying in Mlibizi River at the same spot were hippos reportedly died.

He said investigations to establish the cause of the latest reported deaths were underway.

“We have discovered dead fish in Mlibizi River at the same area where hippos died due to anthrax. Apparently 27 dead fish were picked up and samples were collected and sent to the Department of Veterinary Services for analysis.

“During our intensified awareness campaigns, we are also discouraging people from consuming the dead fish. The cause of the deaths is not yet known and we will only know the cause when the tests are concluded,” he said.

“In our study, there are less chances of anthrax being spread from hippos to fish as it is spread through hooves and the soil. We suspect poisoning either by fishermen or lack of oxygen in the river during its life cycle.”


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