The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has confirmed that the country has recorded an anthrax outbreak in the Upper East Region.
The evidence was established following the outcome of sample analysis at the laboratory of the Veterinary Services Directorate.
A statement issued by MoFA and signed by sector minister Bryan Acheampong, indicates that though the current case is limited to only the Binduri District in that region, the possibility of spreading to other areas is likely.
Anthrax as a disease caused by bacteria in livestock is transferable to humans and can result in death. To forestall the spread of the disease, MoFA is announcing the following measures, including the restriction of movement of animals within and into the Binduri District, mass vaccination of animals in the affected areas and ban on animals found dead in the affected area.
“The public is further advised to observe vigilance, purchase meat from only certified abattoirs, and promptly report dead animals to the nearest veterinary units or health facilities,” the statement directed.
Anthrax, caused by infection with the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, remains a global public health concern, especially in resource-limited, rural agricultural areas, including West Africa.
Historical antecedent of the disease
Ghana has a history of human anthrax associated with high case fatality rates (CFRs). One study reported that nearly 1,000 persons died from anthrax in Ghana during 1980–2000.
Most cases occurred in northern Ghana and were attributed to spillover from infected livestock. A 2017 study modeling the geographic distribution of anthrax risk in Ghana corroborated those findings and identified Northern, Savannah, Upper West, North East, and Upper East Regions.
During 2005–2016, a total of 38 human deaths from anthrax were reported in Ghana, 30 from the Upper East and eight from Northern regions.
Eight cases within that period of occurrence documented were deaths reported in key months including March, April, June and December.
More deaths occurred during March and April, and in the Upper East, corresponding to seasonal peaks and geographic concentrations of livestock