There should be no sale, slaughtering and consumption of cattle, sheep, goats and dogs for the next one month across 5 districts and a municipality in the Eastern corridor of the Upper East region of Ghana effective June 6, 2023.

This is according to the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) following a confirmed outbreak of a zoonotic disease, Anthrax.

“The Police have been instructed to apprehend or arrest any person or group of persons who flout (s) this directive,” a statement signed by the Chief Director of the RCC, Alhaji Abubakari Inusah warned.


Ban on movement 

A further ban has been placed on the movement of small ruminants (sheep, goats and pigs), cattle and dogs from the affected areas – Bawku Municipality, Bawku West, Pusiga, Garu, Tampane and Binduri Districts – effective June 5, 2023.

Tests results conducted on two cattle from the Bansi community in the Binduri District and the Sapeliga Community in the Bawku West District have so far returned positive for Anthrax; 7 cattle and 23 sheep and goats have so far died in the affected communities.


What is Anthrax?

Anthrax is a zoonotic disease in herbivores caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis.

Humans acquire the infection directly or indirectly from infected animals or occupational exposure to infected or contaminated animal products.

Anthrax in humans is not generally regarded as contagious, although rare records of person-to-person transmission exist. Anthrax bacteria can survive in the environment for decades by forming spores.

“Worldwide, the estimated incidence of human anthrax decreased from 20,000 – 100,000 cases per year in 1958 to 2,000 per year during the 1980s,” the World Health Organization has said.

In the Eastern Mediterranean region, outbreaks of human anthrax have been reported in Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan and Sudan.


Human infections in Ghana?

Thirteen (13) suspected human anthrax cases including one (1) death have been reported from the Bansi community in the Binduri District, according to officials.

Eleven (11) human samples have been sent to Pong-Tamale Veterinary Laboratory for testing and analysis

Veterinary officers are to commence free anthrax vaccination of the following categories of animals (cattle, dogs, sheep and goats).

“All owners of animals have been advised to make their animals available for free anthrax vaccination at their respective places of residence,” the RCC has advised.


By: Gifty Tracy Aminu