At least 70 people have contracted anthrax at Lenginet village, Rongai Sub-county, Nakuru County after eating the carcass of a cow. Lenginet Dispensary Nursing Officer Khalid Kibet said the victims presented themselves at the hospital with swollen eyes, lesions on the face, hands, cheeks and fingers.
Mr Kibet said laboratory examinations revealed the patients have the deadly disease. He said 49 adults and 15 children who ate the meat were given antibiotics. Those who touched the contaminated meat were also put on medication.
“Their condition has stabilised though the hospital continues to receive more patients. Those treated are advised to come back for continuous medical checkup,” he said.
Gideon Ombati, a patient said, “A neighbour slaughtered the cow and distributed to locals. I ate the meat without knowledge that the cow had died of anthrax,” said Mr Ombati.
He said after consuming the meat, his skin began itching, his eyes turned red and his cheeks developed lesions. Doctors have prescribed that he takes antibiotics daily, for two weeks.
Patrick Komolo, also a victim said he was given the meat by a friend who claimed it was inspected.
And Anthony Langat said he consumed the meat that had been prepared by a friend. Mr Langat said the meat looked and tasted normal but only a few hours after consumption, his face began swelling. He too was put on antibiotics. Lenginet Location Chief Jonathan Siele said it is unfortunate that several cows were reported dead in the area but a section of locals chose not to dispose off their bodies properly.
He said some people feasted on the meat while some transported it for sale to neighbouring villages.
Nakuru Agriculture Executive Stanley Chepkwony cautioned the public against eating un-inspected meat.
Mr Chepkwony said dead cattle should be incinerated or burnt to avoid spread of the disease that kills both livestock and human beings. He said veterinary officers have been dispatched to the affected areas and are currently doing free ring vaccination to prevent further spread of the lethal disease.
“Anthrax was reported in the county last week and samples taken to government laboratories have tested positive. Vaccination is the only measure to prevent further spread of the disease,” said Chepkwony.
Livestock being vaccinated by the veterinary officers include cows, sheep, goats and donkeys. Symptoms of the disease in man include fever, depression, excessive salivation, nasal and eye discharge.
During infection, the body of a cow can be covered by nodules, especially on the head, neck, limbs, genitalia and under the tail.