Anthrax likely cause of hippo deaths in Malawi

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LILONGWE, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Malawi on Friday said preliminary test results show that anthrax likely caused the deaths of hippos at one of its national parks.

Late November the department told the media that 22 hippos had died in the Shire River in Liwonde National Park and that samples had been collected from the dead hippos and sent to both local and international labs to ascertain the cause of the deaths.

Brighton Kumchedwa, director of the department, disclosed that the number of dead hippos had reached 28 from 22 and warned people to take extra care, saying although anthrax mainly affects animals, the disease could be transmitted to humans by infected wild and domestic animals.

"Anthrax is a serious disease. As a preventive measure, we have also banned people from consuming bush meat in the southern region of the country as other animals may have also been affected," said Kumchedwa.

Liwonde National Park, in southern Malawi, has a population of about 1,900 hippopotamuses and this is the first time hippos have died in large numbers due to infection. Enditem

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