Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Namibia: Hippos Killed By Possible Anthrax Outbreak

Page no 1by Lugeretzia Kooper Anthrax kills 109 hippos in Bwabwata Page no 1by Lugeretzia Kooper Anthrax kills 109 hippos in Bwabwata
Ben Pena | 11 October, 2017, 11:37

A suspected anthrax outbreak has killed 107 hippos in one of Namibia's biggest game parks in the Zambezi region in Namibia in just one week.

Rangers from Bwabwata National Park say more than 100 have died since last Sunday, many pictured with legs in the air as they lay bloated in the water. However, officials said it's a scene they've seen before.

Over 100 hippopotamuses have died in Namibia in Bwabwata National Park in the past week, country's environment minister said on Monday. The number of deaths is 109 but they are not sure and their veterinary team is now working at the area to determine the cause of death. In 2004, the BBC reported on a similar outbreak in Uganda that left at least 180 hippos dead, while previous year more than 2,300 reindeer died after being infected with anthrax during a heatwave in Siberia.

The precise cause of the animals' deaths has yet to be confirmed, but some workers are putting it down to a disastrous outbreak of anthrax.

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Elephants and hippos were also killed by a 2003-4 outbreak in Namibia's Kasika Conservancy, Sikopo said, but this is the first incident in the 2,422 sq. mi.

"This is a natural cause and with the animals dying people should not panic, as it won't negatively affect tourism in the area", said Colgar Sikopo.

In order to curb the spread of the disease, Namibian authorities are focused on preventing human exposure to the virus, both by limiting contact with the dead hippos and by advising locals not to eat them. 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.

Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics but treatment needs to start soon after infection.

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