FISHERIES and Livestock Minister Makozo Chikote says a ban on the movement of livestock and livestock products has been enforced in all districts which have reported an Anthrax outbreak.

And Chikote has disclosed that the number of persons that have died from Anthrax has risen to three, with the latest death being recorded in Lumezi district.

Meanwhile, Chikote says the Central Veterinary Research Institute has been tasked to produce more vaccines.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Chikote said a ban on livestock products had been effected in affected districts.

“In all the districts which have been affected, we have instituted a ban on all the slaughters and all the movements of animals and animal products. No products, no animals will be moved either in or out of these districts that we have mentioned or where we have received reports that Anthrax is there. So, there will be no movements of meat products from all those districts until we are comfortable that the disease has been contained,” he said.

“Now, coming to these districts that are not affected, even if they are not affected, the procedures on transporting these livestock products or animals have to be adhered to. Without proper documentation, those products will not move”.

Chikote said surveillance on checkpoints would be enhanced to ensure that no livestock or livestock products without documentation were transported from one area to another.

Chikote stressed the need for a multi-sectoral approach in curbing the outbreak of Anthrax and appealed to citizens to buy livestock products only from registered outlets.

“Humble request to the public is not to buy from unregistered outlets. One of the biggest problems is that people like buying cheap meat from unregistered or questionable butcheries. Butcheries should have certified documents and people should ask for them,” he said.

And Chikote has disclosed that the number of persons that have died from anthrax had risen to three.

“The outbreak of anthrax started in Sinazongwe and moved into Kazungula. From there, we started getting reports of Lumezi, Sesheke, Mongu, Senanga and Sioma; these are the districts which have been affected by Anthrax. As of today (Sunday), the breakdown of the areas, human beings and animals that have been affected; to date in Kazungula District we have got 16 kraals that were affected and we have 48 mortalities in terms of cattle and also 15 people have been affected. In Sinazongwe, we have 245 cattle that died and also we have 205 people affected from the disease and we had two people die. We had other reports that came from Monze, but after samples were taken to the laboratory, they tested negative. So, so far we don’t have any report, though we had one animal dying in Monze but the samples tested negative. Also, we have Lumezi, nine cases in humans and one human mortality and it’s been revealed that the person who died consumed meat which was affected,” he said.

“Nalolo, we have one case in humans and two cattle also died and in Mongu we have five cases of humans and one morality of cattle as of today and also we have three cases of cattle in Senanga but no human case has been reported. In Sesheke, we have five cattle cases and one goat, two dogs and eight cases in human. Sioma we have one case for human and nine cattle died. So, those are the numbers collected so far”.

Chikote attributed the spread and increase in cases to human activity.

“All these numbers, if you follow very well, you find that this has been caused by the factor of human activities, they are the ones driving these infections. The spread, the movement of animals, the movement of these products. First of all, you find that human beings are going into the parks and when they find hippos, especially along the shores of lake Kariba, this is where we have discovered that human beings have contracted this disease and also they are fond of getting this meat and transporting it to markets to go and sell,” he said.

Asked whether government was losing the battle of containing the outbreak, Makozo assured that government was on top of things.

“We are on top of things. I stated that in Sinazongwe around July, we got a report of the disease, we moved in. In August, the mop ups of our frontline staff gave us an indication that the disease had been sorted out in Sinazongwe until September when it reoccurred. And the funny part of this disease is that it can stay in the soil for more than 50 years and when the vegetation is low, the animals are able to inhale the spores and those spores cause the disease. So, it is a disease which really requires a lot of attention, cooperation from the public and practicing of best management at farm level to have it contained. So Nalolo, Senanga, Sesheke, Mongu, Sioma, these are reports that we just received this month. The only areas we received reports early is Sinazongwe,” he said.

Asked whether beef lovers should worry or reduce on their meat intake, Makozo said there was no need for worry as all that was needed was to buy from registered outlets.

“No, no, no, the only thing that we are saying is, one, people should not buy their products from unregistered outlets, secondly, all the products coming into markets, the council should make sure that the people who are supplying should produce right documentation, certificates that certify that these products are good for consumption. So, let’s work together. If you see an officer trying to compromise, we must alert the authorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, asked whether the country had enough vaccines for anthrax, Chikote said the Central Veterinary Research Institute had been tasked to produce more vaccines.

“Yes, we do. We are treating this as an emergency and we are making sure that the districts where we have received reports, the vaccine is being distributed there to make sure that all the animals are vaccinated against Anthrax and what we have also put in place, as an intervention, is we have increased on the production of the vaccine from the Central Veterinary Research Institute (CVRI), we are on top of things. We are also vaccinating other livestock other than cattle because pigs, goats and other animals can also contract anthrax,” said Chikote.