More than 100 elephants die in suspected anthrax outbreak

FILE PHOTO: The marked carcass of an elephant in Botswana. Picture taken September 19, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

More than 100 elephants in Botswana have died in the past two months partly because of a suspected anthrax outbreak as said on Tuesday by the government.

The Department of Wildlife and National was quoted saying, “Preliminary investigations suggest the elephants are dying from anthrax while some died from effects of drought.”

The department also said that due to the severe drought, elephants end up consuming soil while grazing and get exposed to the anthrax bacteria spore.”

The wildlife authority in Botswana explained that the latest deaths were in the Chobe Riverfront and Nantanga areas in Botswana where 14 dead elephants were found this week.

Burning the carcasses would prevent anthrax infection from spreading to other animals though infections can be prevented in animals by regular vaccination.

Anthrax is however not contagious to humans they can only be infected if they consume the bacteria.

Anthrax is bacteria found naturally in soil and usually affects domestic and wild animals when they inhale or ingest anthrax spores in contaminated soil, plants or water.


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