Outbreak of Anthrax Associated with Handling and Eating Meat from a Cow, Uganda, 2018

Esther Kisaakye, Alex Riolexus Ario, Kenneth Bainomugisha, Caitlin M. Cossaboom, David Lowe, Lilian Bulage, Daniel Kadobera, Musa Sekamatte, Bernard Lubwama, Dan Tumusiime, Patrick Tusiime, Robert Downing, Joshua Buule, Julius Lutwama, Johanna S. Salzer, Eduard Matkovic, Jana Ritter, Joy Gary, and Bao-Ping Zhu

On April 20, 2018, the Kween District Health Office in Kween District, Uganda reported 7 suspected cases of human anthrax. A team from the Uganda Ministry of Health and partners investigated and identified 49 cases, 3 confirmed and 46 suspected; no deaths were reported. Multiple exposures from handling the carcass of a cow that had died suddenly were significantly associated with cutaneous anthrax, whereas eating meat from that cow was associated with gastrointestinal anthrax. Eating undercooked meat was significantly associated with gastrointestinal anthrax, but boiling the meat for >60 minutes was protective. We recommended providing postexposure antimicrobial prophylaxis for all exposed persons, vaccinating healthy livestock in the area, educating farmers to safely dispose of animal carcasses, and avoiding handling or eating meat from livestock that died of unknown causes.

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