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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Anthrax in Namibia

31 Jan 2013

An outbreak of anthrax which was first identified on 17 January 2013, has been reported from the Omadhiya village in Oshikoto Region.

Ten cattle in the area are thought to have been infected with anthrax bacterium and 2 individuals died after consumption of contaminated meat. A further 22 individuals have developed the cutaneous form of infection following contact with infected cattle meat and animal skin; all are receiving antibiotic treatment.

The Ministry of Health has embarked on an awareness campaign, advising on the consumption of contaminated meat, recognition of signs/symptoms and presenting for treatment.

The health authorities have begun a campaign to vaccinate all livestock in Omadhiya village in an effort to contain the outbreak.

Advice for Travellers

The risk to travellers is low, most cases are of the cutaneous form and related to close contact with infected animals in rural areas. Anthrax can also be transmitted by consuming the meat of an infected animal. Avoidance of products made from animal origin such as souvenirs made from animal skins should is advised.