South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has banned livestock imports and their products from Lesotho into South Africa, following a report of a susceptible anthrax outbreak.

The Veterinary Authority of Lesotho has reported three anthrax outbreaks to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
According to a report, the first outbreak started on 12 May, and a total of 24 cattle were reported to have died of anthrax.

Anthrax, which is a disease of humans and warm-blooded animals, is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis.
Animals become infected by eating or licking material that is contaminated with spores or breathing in the spores. These spores are formed when the bacteria are exposed to oxygen in the event that an animal that died of anthrax is cut open.

The spores are resistant and survive for long periods (up to decades) in the environment. Humans most commonly contract the disease through contact with anthrax infected animals or animal products such as meat.
The department said that Animal Health is in contact with the Veterinary Authority of Lesotho to ensure safe trade, while the anthrax outbreaks are ongoing.

“A ban has been imposed on imports from Lesotho into South Africa of live animals susceptible to anthrax and products of these animals, including wool,” the department said. NW

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