1. Insertion

Anthrax (anthrax),  is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which has a highly resistant spore form in the outdoor environment. The disease is spread over most of the globe as sporadic outbreaks and affects all species of domestic and wild mammals (especially herbivores: small ruminants, large ruminants, equidae) and certain species of birds (ostriches, ducks). The disease is transmissible to humans. 

In animals, transmission occurs through the digestive tract or incidentally by inhalation, grazing on land contaminated with spores (known as “cursed fields“) or ingesting water or food contaminated with spores. The disease usually manifests as an acute, septicemic disease, rapidly progressing to death with general, circulatory, digestive and urinary symptoms. The main lesions are those of hemorrhagic septicemia associated, in particular, with hypertrophy and softening of the spleen and a change in the appearance of the blood become black and incoagulable.

The CF is above all a telluric, enzootic disease in certain regions whose subsoil is polluted by spores (burial of corpses, etc.). The spores rise to the surface under the action of earthworms, floods, movements of the water table, drainage works and miscellaneous (resurgent coal).

CF can also be an import disease through whole foods prepared from contaminated raw materials (such as imported bones). It can occur in any season, in any place, on various species (pigs, ruminants), affecting at the same time many animals, in different farms customers of the same food manufacturer.

  1. Regulatory framework

In Morocco, anthrax is a contagious disease under the law of dahir  n°1-75-292 On 19 September 1977, the Council adopted measures to guarantee domestic animals against contagious diseases. It occurs enzootically in so-called coalfields in some provinces. Cattle are the most affected species.

  1. Health situation at national level

The CF has been operating in Morocco for several decades in several regions of the national territory known as «coal zones» where there are ancient cursed fields. Thanks to measures undertaken by national services for decades, based in particular on:

– regular surveillance of the disease in sensitive species;

– annual vaccination of livestock in coal-mining areas,

the number of outbreaks due to this disease has declined considerably over the years. Currently, the disease appears sporadically in the form of isolated outbreaks in some recognized coalmining areas.

Epidemiologically, an average of 5 outbreaks (35 cases) per year of anthrax is reported in ruminants during the period 2003-2012.

  1. Management program

To prevent the onset of this disease, the ONSSA carries out, through its provincial veterinary services, an annual preventive vaccination of sensitive species (including cattle, sheep and goats) in areas known to be charcoal.

As regards medical prophylaxis, a vaccination campaign for sensitive species (cattle, sheep and goats) is organized annually at the level of the coal mining areas. The objective is to vaccinate at least 80% of the population of sensitive livestock in these areas.

An average of 292000 animals (cattle, sheep and goats) were vaccinated annually between 2005 and 2012.      

In the field of health prophylaxis, the measures adopted when reporting outbreaks of this disease include:

– The destruction and burial of corpses (without opening them);

– Disinfection of premises and equipment;

– Perifocal vaccination.

It should be noted that this disease is well controlled in Morocco and has no particular economic impact on the cattle population