Namibia: Anthrax Outbreak Suspected To Have Killed More Than 100 Hippos

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More than 100 hippos have been killed in a suspected outbreak of anthrax in a remote national park in Namibia.The first victim of the outbreak in Bwabwata National Park was noticed by park officials on October 1, but in less than a fortnight the infection rapidly spread, claiming a suspected 109 hippos in less than a fortnight.

image credit: Namibian Broadcasting Corporation

Anthrax is a deadly bacterial disease which is known to kill game, cattle, and sometimes humans.Pictures from the area show dozens of dead hippos – some on their backs – lying in rivers with low water levels.(bbc)

image credit: Namibian Broadcasting Corporation

Namibia’s environment minister Pohamba Shifeta told news agency AFP that the country’s veterinary services were working on establishing the exact cause. He warned that the exact death toll could be higher due to the possibility that crocodiles may have eaten some of the carcasses..(bbc)

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A number of dead water buffaloes are also reported to have been found, and there are concerns crocodiles preying on the dead hippos could also become infected, which is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.

The ministry is warning locals not to eat meat from dead animals in the region, and hippo carcasses are being burned in an attempt to prevent the disease from spreading.