A total of 97 animals have died due to suspected anthrax in the Upper East Region, with 12 out of the 15 districts in the region reporting cases as of yesterday.
The remaining districts – Bongo, Bolgatanga Municipal, Talensi, Garu-Tempane, Bawku Municipal, Builsa North, Pusiga, Kassena Nankana Municipal (KNM), and Bongo – recorded varying numbers of deaths ranging from one to eight.
Sheep accounted for the highest number of affected animals with 53 deaths, followed by cattle with 35, while goats and pigs recorded five and two deaths, respectively.
However, after conducting laboratory tests at the Kpong Tamale Veterinary Laboratory, only six districts were confirmed to have positive anthrax cases. These districts are Binduri, Talensi, Bongo, Bawku West, Bolgatanga Municipal, and Kassena Nankana Municipal.
Dr Patrick Abakeh, Acting Director of the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, stated that measures were being implemented to contain the situation. The ministry has distributed 100,000 doses of vaccine to all the districts, with an additional 100,000 doses scheduled for distribution next week.
Dr Abakeh revealed that all 13 districts have already vaccinated a total of 23,449 animals. The highest number of animals vaccinated were in the Binduri District (9,485), followed by Talensi (7,141), Bawku West (2,948), Bolgatanga Municipal (2,468), and Bongo (1,195).
Public education efforts are underway to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of anthrax. The public has been advised not to consume the carcasses of dead animals.
Dr Abakeh emphasized the importance of reporting dead animals promptly for proper burial and disinfection, and farmers have been urged to vaccinate their animals against the disease.
A ban has been imposed on the movement and slaughter of livestock in the affected areas, along with mass vaccination campaigns for sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs in all affected areas.
Regarding the safety of meat in the region, Dr Abakeh clarified that meat is considered safe for consumption only when it has been inspected and issued a certificate by the VSD.