Human Anthrax Case Confirmed in Malawi
Symptoms of anthrax depend on how the bacteria enters the body, either through the skin, lungs or digestive system.
LILONGWE, Malawi — Health authorities have confirmed a case of anthrax disease in a person in Malawi, the government announced Tuesday, writes Winston Mwale.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement that the patient was clinically diagnosed with anthrax at a health facility in Mzimba district.
The diagnosis was confirmed by laboratory testing at Malawi's Public Health Institute.
“The affected individual was clinically diagnosed with anthrax at a health facility in Mzimba district and the National Reference Laboratory confirmed the diagnosis at the Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM) in Lilongwe on 27th November 2023,” the statement said.
“The Ministry of Health is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture, healthcare professionals, local authorities, and international partners such as the World Health Organisation to ensure proper surveillance, response, and timely treatment of the patient.”
Anthrax is primarily an animal disease caused by bacteria.
The ministry said it can occasionally spread to humans who come into contact with infected animals or animal products contaminated with the bacteria.
“While anthrax can be a severe illness, it is important to note that it is not transmitted from person to person,” the statement said.
“The Ministry of Health would like to assure the public that the situation is handled with the utmost care and that there is no cause for panic or alarm."
Symptoms of anthrax depend on how the bacteria enters the body, either through the skin, lungs, or digestive system.
They can include blisters or painless sores, fever, swelling, cough, chest discomfort, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
To prevent further infections, the ministry recommended avoiding contact with sick animals, properly cooking meat and wearing protective equipment when handling potentially infected animals, among other measures.
Health Secretary Samson Mndolo said authorities are actively working to conduct investigations, trace contacts and enforce preventive measures.
Further updates will follow, he said.