Investigation of suspected anthrax cases in Kolkol village, Dano Health District, Burkina Faso, February 2021

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The Southwest Region of Burkina Faso has recurring cases of Anthrax in animals and humans. In February 2021, two unexplained deaths were recorded in Kolko village in Dano Health District among persons that consumed cattle that died as a result of bleeding. We conducted a multisectoral investigation to identify cause of death and put measures in place to control the spread of disease.

A descriptive cross-sectional study on the human and animal population was conducted in Kolkol. A case definition of positive skin-cutaneous anthrax was used to find additional humans’ cases. Document reviews, interviews of health workers, family members, cases and verbal autopsies were used to collect Socio-demographic and clinical data, treatment, meat consumption of dead animals. Data were analyzed using MS Excel. Biological samples were collected from animals and suspected human cases and tested for bacillus anthracis. We implemented disease control measures.

We identified 4 dead cattle and 4 suspected human cases with two deaths. Human cases had mean age of 25.5 years. These cases came from the Kolkol village and had an history consumption of dead cattle meat. Clinically, 100% of suspected human cases had a rash, 75% the non-vesicular papule and 25% the blackish pressure ulcer. Among the cattle deaths, the laboratory confirmed the presence of Bacillus anthracis by Microscopy with GRAM staining. Health workers were used to raise awareness in the community about the importance of systematic inspection of all meat before consumption. Also, susceptible animals in the village were vaccinated.

This investigation of unexplained deaths in the kolkol village confirmed the presence of anthrax in beef and established an epidemiological link between the consumption of the dead cattle and the occurrence of the human deaths. We recommend raising public awareness about the consumption of dead animals and regular vaccination of animals.

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