Anthrax Outbreak in Chobe

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Sep 21st, 2004, 12:48 PM
  #1
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Anthrax Outbreak in Chobe

I read that there is an anthrax outbreak in Chobe in Botswana. We will be traveling there soon and were told that we won't be able to access the closed areas. What will we be missing?

We are already visiting Okavango, Moremi & Savuti.
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Sep 21st, 2004, 05:22 PM
  #2
sandi
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Anthrax outbreaks in animals (elephants) are not that unusual. But what areas will you not be able to access? Ascertain this information from your tour operators, and hope the tour operator provide accurate advise. You might then choose to cancel Chobe and spend more time at other Botswana camps, or head into VFA on the Zambia side for those times.
 
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 04:19 AM
  #3
 
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We just received the following letter from one of the lodges we use in Chobe: We have received confirmation from the National Parks Board that an outbreak of Anthrax has occurred in the Northern section of the Serondela area of the national park. This area has been closed to traffic and does not affect the area in which guests do game drives. More importantly it does not affect the safety of our guests.
Anthrax in its naturally occurring form has been in Africa for many years and as long as no one handles any animal carcasses there is no risk.
Wildlife Officials are on hand at entrance gates and in the park to provide information if required. No threat exists to our guests.

Hope that helps...
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Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:37 AM
  #4
JamesEOA
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Here's some more info I've just received...

The main area affected is the area from Serondela westwards to the Ngoma gate. That part of the park is closed for now - and probably will be for the next two weeks or so.

The anthrax outbreak is along the Chobe River. Americans in particular may think of anthrax in terms of weapons of mass destruction.... but anthrax in Africa is nothing to get too concerned about.

Anthrax is found just about all the way through Africa. Parks like Etosha, Kruger etc have regular outbreaks - and some animals die each year from this disease. But no humans are affected in any way. A person can sit next to an anthrax infected carcass and not get sick at all. The only time one is at risk is if one gets covered in blood / gore of an infected animal and this blood / gore finds its way into one's body. Only then is it remotely possible that you can get infected.

Anthrax in Africa is endemic - and life goes on with it being all around us. When there is an outbreak of anthrax, the key is to burn or bury the carcass of the dead animal so that the spore can't be translocated to other areas by vultures, predators and other scavengers.

The main worry about Anthrax is because of the role that the media has played in this disease post 9/11. It is possible for chemists to take the natural anthrax spore and refine it in a laboratory and manipulate this spore so it becomes super potent so it can be used as a terrorist weapon that can affect humans. But that is not a risk out in African parks.
 
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Sep 23rd, 2004, 03:21 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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James, thank you for giving us some information on this. You're right, the news versions are leaning on the alarmist side. It appears the real danger is Africa is losing some needed tourist dollars and there is concern for livestock in Namibia, where it may be spreading.
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