Anthrax, a rare but serious disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium, has infected some animals and humans in parts of the Upper East Region. The Regional Coordinating Council has imposed a one-month restriction on the movement of cattle and small ruminants along the Eastern corridor of the region to prevent the spread of the infection.
The affected areas include Bawku Municipality, Bawku West, Pusiga, Garu, Tempane, and Binduri Districts.
The infection was detected in the Bansi Community in Binduri District and the Sapeliga Community in Bawku West District. As of Friday, 2nd June 2023, 7 cattle and 23 sheep and goats had died from anthrax in these communities.
As of June 5, 2023, 13 people from Bansi Community had shown signs of anthrax infection, such as skin sores, vomiting and shock. One person had died from the infection. Eleven (11) samples from these people had been sent to the Pong-Tamale Veterinary Laboratory for testing.
The Regional Directorate of the Veterinary Service had started vaccinating all ruminants in the Bansi and Sapeliga communities.
The Regional Public Health Emergency Management Committee had held an urgent meeting on Monday, 5th June 2023, to discuss the anthrax outbreak in the Eastern part of the region. The committee had adopted some measures to contain the infection.
The measures were announced in a statement signed by Alhaji Abubakari Inusah, Chief Director of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council.
The police had been ordered to arrest anyone who violated this directive.
The following decisions were made:
- A ban on the movement of all ruminants (sheep, goats, cattle, and dogs) from the Eastern corridor of the region, including Bawku Municipality, Bawku West, Pusiga, Garu, Tempane, and Binduri Districts.
- Municipal and District Chief Executives are to ensure that slaughtering, sales, and consumption of cattle, sheep, goats, and dogs are banned for a period of one (1) month, effective 6th June 2023. The Police have been instructed to apprehend or arrest any person or group of persons who flout(s) this directive.
- Veterinary Officers have been directed to commence anthrax vaccination of the following categories of animals immediately: cattle, dogs, sheep, and goats.
- All owners of animals are to make their animals available for vaccination at their respective places of residence. The anthrax vaccination is free for now.
- The Regional Public Health Emergency Management Committee chaired by the Hon. Regional Minister requests the support and cooperation of all stakeholders at this moment before the outbreak becomes a Regional/National catastrophe.