Assessment of farmers and animal health workers that are associated with recurrence of anthrax out breaks in Kween district
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Livestock production is affected negatively by a number of diseases among which is the deadly anthrax. Anthrax is a bacterial disease affecting humans and other mammals and caused by the gram-positive, spore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium Bacillus anthraxis. Despite the high importance of anthrax, outbreaks continued to recur yet the practices associated with its recurrence are not well understood, hence the need for this study. Primary objective of this study was to investigate farmer and animal health worker practices that are associated with recurrence of anthrax outbreaks in Kween District. The study was carried out in Ngenge, Kaproron and Kaptum sub-counties of Kween District because there are large livestock numbers and are the most affected sub-counties. . High mortalities occur in cattle being the largest population of livestock, all age groups were infected with more fatalities in cattle of good body condition especially pregnant cows, in a few occasions where farmers reported dogs died after consuming carcasses of cattle that died of anthrax. Farmers slit the throats of their animals immediately they die to drain off blood, flay/skin and divide meat among neighbors. We have also observed that, farmers/quacks have mastered the use of antibiotics as a prophylactic treatment of anthrax which would otherwise be the work of animal health workers and to worsen the situation is them combining oxytetracycline and pen strep. For this reason therefore, animal health workers are not doing enough and have left their work for quacks. However, cultural believes such as “burying of food animals causes a bad omen and something bad may happen including death of family members, making collars out of the skin of the udder and teats of the dead mother and hanged on the neck of orphaned calves to prevent loneliness and sharing meat amongst neighbors gives luck of getting another animal was noticed in this study. These practices have always hindered safe disposal of animal carcasses and control of outbreaks in Kween district. To successfully control anthrax outbreaks, sensitization of farmers need to be stressed, strengthening the immunity of all susceptible livestock species through quarterly or yearly vaccination programs, active surveillance and increasing public information and education through radio is important and to denounce bad cultural norms and beliefs that propel anthrax outbreaks in Kween district.