Analysis of mortality records has revealed distinct patterns in the incidence of anthrax in elephant and
plains ungulates. The seasonal peak among the former is in November at the end of the dry season,
while among the latter it occurs in March towards the end of the rainy season. Among elephants, there
has been a notable spread of the disease to the west of the Park. Age and sex analyses indicate that,
except for zebra, proportionally greater numbers of adult males die of anthrax among the species predominantly
affected; however, zebra carcases are difficult to sex.
In a study to identify possible environmental sources of infection, B. anthracis was detected in 3,3%
of 92 water and 3,0% of 230 soil samples collected at different times of the year from 23 sites not associated
with known cases of anthrax. Slight seasonal differences were noted with 5,7% positives occurring
in the cold-dry period (May to August), 3,5% in the hot-dry season (September to December) and
1,4% in the hot-wet season (January to April). Higher rates (26,0% of 73 samples) were found in water
from waterholes in the western part of the Park at the time of an outbreak in elephants. The possible
importance of scavenger faeces was confirmed with > 50% of vulture, jackal and hyaena faeces collected
from the vicinity of confirmed anthrax carcases yielding B. anthracis , sometimes in substantial numbers,
while no spores were found in faeces not associated with known anthrax carcases.
Despite terminal B. anthracis levels of usually > 10⁷ cfu/ml in the blood of animals dying of anthrax, spore levels in soil contaminated by such blood at sites of anthrax carcases ranged from undetectable
to a few tens of thousands. The rapid loss of viability in soil and water of anthrax bacilli was monitored
experimentally and the importance of soil type demonstrated. Survival and extent of sporulation of the
bacilli in water were shown to be dependent on the rate at which the blood was diluted out. Other relevant
parameters examined were background flora, pH and sunlight.
The articles have been scanned in colour with a HP Scanjet 5590; 600dpi.
Adobe Acrobat XI Pro was used to OCR the text and also for the merging and conversion to the final presentation PDF-format.