KENYA – In a measure to contain a potential anthrax outbreak, the county government of Murang’a has enforced a ban on the sale of meat and milk in Kahumbu ward, Kigumo, for the next 14 days.

The decision comes after reports emerged of locals consuming meat from a cow suspected to have died from anthrax.

In addition to the ban on meat and milk sales, authorities have also imposed restrictions on movement in and out of the area to prevent the spread of the disease to neighboring regions. Scores of residents have reportedly experienced health complications after consuming meat from the infected cow, with some developing sores on their bodies—a telltale sign of anthrax contamination.

Although animals are the primary victims of anthrax, humans can also contract the disease by breathing in spores or coming into contact with an affected animal.

Depending on the path of infection, the symptoms in humans might vary from breathing difficulties to a darkly crusted skin ulcer.

The signs of an infected animal include fever, dyspnea, trembling, staggering, and spasms. The infected animal usually dies within 72 hours.The cow’s owner, Margret Ngugi, acknowledged slaughtering the animal after its mysterious death and subsequently selling its meat to locals at Ksh400 (U.S$2.74) per kilo. However, many residents scrambled to purchase the meat unaware of the potential danger they were exposing themselves to.

Ngugi claimed that a private veterinarian had inspected the meat and deemed it safe for consumption, although further investigation revealed the vet to be unregistered—a critical oversight that endangered public health.

County veterinary officer William Kingori emphasized the necessity of the quarantine to contain the disease’s spread, affirming that vaccination efforts for all animals in the area have commenced.

Meanwhile, Governor Irungu Kang’ata assured residents that the county government would cover medical expenses for those affected and deploy a mobile clinic to provide testing and treatment services for the next two weeks.

Governor Kang’ata urged security officers to apprehend the unregistered veterinarian responsible for clearing the contaminated meat, emphasizing the need for accountability and justice. He highlighted the seriousness of operating without proper qualifications, stressing the risks posed to public health by such negligence.

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