Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Anthrax Eyed in Deaths of 109 Hippos

Anthrax Eyed in Deaths of 109 Hippos

The animals are believed to have all died in the last week in the remote Bwabwata National Park, in the country's north-east. Mr Kannyinga said anthrax outbreaks are not uncommon, and happen when the water levels become low in the Kavango River. An arrangement of assaults in 2001 saw individuals tainted by Bacillus anthracis spores sent in envelopes in the U.S., causing five deaths. "The cause of death is unknown but the signs so far show that it could be anthrax", Minister for Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta told AFP.

"This is a natural cause and with the animals dying people should not panic, as it won't negatively affect tourism in the area", said Colgar Sikopo. The spores usually enter the body by eating infected meat or handling infected animal products. Infected anthrax spores have also been used by bioterrorists in the recent past.

According to the estimation from Government officials, before the mass death hippo population of Namibia was around 1,300. There is also worry that humans will ingest the tainted flesh.

A child also died in the Siberian outbreak.

"We strongly advise that [humans] must not consume this meat".

If confirmed, the anthrax outbreak wouldn't be the first, or even the worst, in recent years. Human deaths from anthrax in the US are extremely rare. In 2004, the BBC reported on a similar outbreak in Uganda that left at least 180 hippos dead, while past year more than 2,300 reindeer died after being infected with anthrax during a heatwave in Siberia.

The most famous incident in the United States would be the 2001 attacks in which anthrax spores were mailed to multiple American newspapers, televised news outlets and Democratic senators.

The FBI accused USA government biodefense researcher Bruce Ivins of the crime shortly after his suicide.

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