By Patricia Kapulula
Malawians who travel to Songwe in Tanzania need to take precautionary measures against Anthrax disease which has hit the region.
The Malawi High Commissioner in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania has reported of the outbreak of Anthrax in Momba District in Songwe Region which has seen 78 people infected as at January 14 2019.
Momba is among the districts of Tunduma, Ileje and Songwe that make up Songwe Region in the southern part of Tanzania.
Tunduma and Ileje are found along the border between Malawi and Tanzania and are frequently visited by Malawians for business, entertainment, religious and cultural undertakings.
A press statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation signed by Acting Principal Secretary Richard Perekamoyo says District Medical Officer for Momba, Dr Anno Maseta confirmed of the outbreak which has claimed four lives.
The ministry has since recommended an alert in order to contain the disease from spreading into Malawi.
“In this context we wish to recommend that an alert should once again be issued to Malawians to refrain from eating meat in the border districts from uncertified places such as streets in view of the fact that the sources cannot be traced,” reads the statement in part.
The statement further says that the precaution would assist to prevent the spread of the disease across the border to Malawi.
But the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children indicated that the outbreak was contained and that there were no new cases reported.
The District Safety and Security Committee of Momba issued a temporary ban on cattle auctions and slaughtering in an effort to curb the further spread of the disease.
The Tanzanian government deployed veterinary officers to vaccinate herds of cattle in the affected district.
Between October and December 2018 Malawi experienced deaths of Hippos in the Shire River Segment of Liwonde National Park because of Anthrax.
So far the deaths have stabilised. This was the first time that Malawi recorded cases of Anthrax.