An outbreak of the rare infectious disease, Anthrax, has now been brought under control in rural Zimbabwe, due to the efforts of International Medical Corps and the Zimbabwean health authorities. A total of 40 people from the Mbire and Mount Darwin Districts were treated for the disease. Anthrax primarily affects animals but can be transmitted to humans, leading to skin lesions, ulcers and if left untreated blood poisoning that can prove fatal.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Welfare first identified the outbreak on November 24th2011. International Medical Corps worked closely with the Ministry and local district health authorities, providing medicines, medical staff and clean water to treat those affected and prevent the spread of this dangerous disease. Infected livestock and potentially infected meat from the affected region has now been destroyed.
International Medical Corps continues to monitor the situation but the outbreak appears to be contained and all of those affected have been treated. No deaths have been reported. However, concern remains that the affected population will face food shortages due to the destruction of infected livestock.
Dr Marco Cernuschi, International Medical Corps Health Coordinator in Zimbabwe, commented, “This was a great example of the growing self-reliance of the Zimbabwean health system, the response has been rapid, the measures taken were effective and the outbreak seems to have come under control.”
Financial support for International Medical Corps’ work in Zimbabwe was provided by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) and the United States Office for Disaster Assistance (OFDA).