Feature Article of Sunday, 14 April 2013
Columnist: Asimenu-Forson, Kwaku
Because of his height, the thirty year-old Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jon-un does look like needing a bit of anti-obesity pills to pass a good BMI(Body Mass Index) test. His vertical challenge nonetheless, the guy has not departed from the ways of his father, Kim Jon-il or his grandfather Kim II- sung before him. In honor of the fathers, the lad has forcefully engaged global superpowers in a kind of ‘ who -blinks –first is at risk game. State terror has been unleashed on the Korean peninsula, into the international system.
Here we have our Kim Jon-un in the person of Bacillus anthracis coming down from Bawku. Our supreme annihilator has so far beaten the Koreans to it by Downing four people so far; sentencing them to death and executing same without recourse to the Supreme Court or any branch of the judiciary . The Ghana armed forces has no protective shield, no counter weapon, no means of protecting the citizenry against B. anthracis.
The year 1916 recorded the first modern biological weaponry of anthrax spores by the Germans against the Imperial Russian army in Finland. Two decades later, Japanese army units in Manchuria (Northeast China) tested this weapon by intentionally infecting prisoners of war, thousands of whom died. A British anthrax bioweapons program in Scotland rendered the entire island of Gruinard toxically contaminated and a no go area for half a century ending in 1990 after a herculean decontamination project. In the US, the attack by a former military employee gone rogue, Dr. Bruce Ivins through the post has resulted in the entire US postal system being run on a biohazard detection system. So deadly is Baccillus Anthracis, the germ that causes anthrax that it is a wonder why Ghana and Sub- Saharan Africa for the matter has not launched a comprehensive vertinary public health program against it. As it were, every year, dozens of people and scores of economic animals are decimated annually by the germ.
In 1881, a French Pharmacist and Microbiologist Louis Pasteur, developed a vaccine against anthrax. He used a simple method: he prepared two groups of twenty five sheep and injected one group with anthrax vaccine personally prepared by weakening the real germ in the lab. A month later, he injected both groups with the real live and active anthrax bacteria. All the non-vaccinated ones died, none of the vaccinated ones died. Since then better anthrax vaccines have been prepared and readily available to any country and peoples serious about confronting the problem. What we confront is the burials. The annual anthrax burials. And we do well at that. Since the rains started this year we have successfully recorded four deaths from Sapelga in the Bauwku West district. The Pong-Tamale vertenary college has also been able to confirm thirty cattle as having died from anthrax. Next year, I am sure they will do more confirmations. We should thank ourselves, as a people for only confirming preventable deaths annually
It is true that anthrax spores or endospores are difficult to deal with but it is possible to prevent the infections. Why don’t we? Why should we always suffer this terror.