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International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health

International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health, ISSN: 2278-1005,Vol.: 12, Issue.: 2


Case Study


Anthrax Outbreak Investigation among Humans and Animals in Northern Ghana: Case Report



John Koku Awoonor-Williams1,2,3*, Paschal Awingura Apanga4, Maurice Anyawie1, Thomas Abachie1, Stephen Boidoitsiah1, Joseph Larbi Opare1 and Martin Nyaaba Adokiya5

1Regional Health Directorate, Ghana Health Service, Upper East Region, Bolgatanga, Ghana.

2Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Socinstrasse 57 4002, Basel, Switzerland.

3University of Basel, Peterplatz 4003, Basel, Switzerland.

4Tongo District Hospital, Talensi District, Upper East Region, Ghana.

5Department of Community Health, School of Allied Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana.




Background: Anthrax is a bacterial infection that affects both animals and humans. It is caused by gram positive bacterium, Bacillus anthracis. It is an acute, specific infectious disease of mainly grass eating animals including cattle, sheep, goats and pigs and common in areas where livestock are raised. It affects humans when exposed to the fur, blood or carcass of an infected animal. A single case of anthrax in any given geographical area has the potential to result in an outbreak in both humans and animals if not handled effectively and in a timely manner. Anthrax disease occurrence is irregular in the northern regions of Ghana with yearly outbreaks.

Case Presentation: We report an outbreak investigation of anthrax in both humans and animals in April, 2013. The outbreak was from Gbengo community in the Bawku West district of Upper East Region of northern Ghana. There were three human deaths due to this particular outbreak, representing a case fatality rate of 0.032 (per 1000 of a total district population 94,034). Laboratory confirmed anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) with a very high case fatality rate (100%) also affected domesticated herbivorous mammals (17 cattle 3 sheep, 2 goats) of all ages and sexes.

Conclusion: The case revealed that anthrax outbreaks remain a major problem in northern Ghana with high case fatality rate. It also highlights the importance of forecasting anthrax outbreak. In response, public health action to anthrax control with continued public health programming to avert future outbreaks is needed. In addition, both health systems and veterinary services need to collaborate in anthrax surveillance for early case detection and response to prevent deaths.


Keywords :

Anthrax; outbreak; human, infectious disease; fatality rate, Ghana.


Full Article - PDF    Page 1-11    Article Metrics


DOI : 10.9734/IJTDH/2016/22359

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