Zambia facing a double epidemic of cholera and anthrax


On Tuesday, Zambia reported additional deaths from cholera as the country grapples with the bacterial disease and its most severe anthrax outbreak in over a decade.

Authorities disclosed that four people died of cholera in the capital city of Lusaka within 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 64 for the year.

The Zambia National Public Health Institute stated that the disease has claimed the lives of at least 46 individuals and infected over 1,600 in Lusaka alone.

Cholera is caused by bacteria commonly transmitted through contaminated food or water.

Health Minister Sylvia Masebo announced that the government is supplying chlorine to purify water in heavily affected areas and urged the public to adhere to strict hygiene practices.

These deaths follow shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning about Zambia’s most significant anthrax outbreak since 2011.

According to the WHO, the country has reported at least four deaths and nearly 700 suspected cases of anthrax since the beginning of the year.

Anthrax, which spreads through bacteria in the soil, often affects grazing livestock and wildlife.

Humans can contract the disease through inhalation of spores, consumption of contaminated food, or contact with infected animals leading to cuts in the skin, among other means.

The WHO noted that 26 cases were linked to the “consumption of meat from three wild hippopotamus carcasses.”

The organization highlighted a “high” risk of anthrax spreading to neighboring countries due to the frequent movement of animals and people.

Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe have also experienced anthrax outbreaks this year, resulting in over 1,100 suspected cases and 20 deaths across the five countries, according to the WHO.

Piers Potter


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