The Nakuru County government has dispelled rumours that their poor disposal of sewerage effluents and garbage was the cause of anthrax at the Nakuru National Park, which has already killed ten buffaloes.
The County Director for Veterinary Services (CDVS), Dr. Onesmous Gitui said anthrax was a zoonotic bacterial disease which was mainly found in the soil and suspected that at the park it was triggered by the animals eating soil due to lack of pastures.
He advised the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), who are in charge of the park to source for pasture for their animals during severe droughts to avoid incidents of anthrax outbreaks due to lack of pasture. Currently, there is a prolonged dry spell and all the pasture at the park has dried.
However, he assured residents that they have already embarked on a vaccination exercise for all the domestic animals in areas surrounding the park such as Mwariki, Njoro and Elburgorn.
He confirmed that so far only one cow at Elburgon has died of anthrax but the carcass was professionally disposed of by Public Health Officers and the twenty-two people who had eaten the meat are out of danger.
Dr. Gitui said no rhino has died at the park and it was only the ten confirmed buffaloes, which had died. “Rhinos are not likely to be infected because they were vaccinated in 2015 when the first anthrax outbreak was reported at the park,” he explained.
He said prior to the outbreak of anthrax at the park which has caused concern worldwide due to the attachment the international community has for wildlife, the county had embarked in January on a vaccination campaign for all the domestic animals.
This, he said, has contributed a great deal to the containment of anthrax at the park. However, he urged wananchi to ensure that they consume only inspected meat to avoid being infected.
He said anthrax causing bacteria was lethal and infects both animals and human beings adding they have installed a toll-free numbers where wananchi can report carcasses of any uninspected meat.
The numbers are 0701032032 or 0737032032 and they are manned twenty-four hours daily.
By Veronica Bosibori