FG confirms first case of anthrax disease in Nigeria

anthrax disease

anthrax disease

The Federal Government on Monday confirmed the first case of anthrax disease in Nigeria.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) confirmed that the case occurred on a farm in the Suleja area of Niger State.

According to an official statement, the animals showing signs of a possible case of anthrax on a farm in Suleja, Niger State, were reported to the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of Nigeria, Dr. Columba T. Vakuru on July 14, 2023.

“The case was in a multi-specie animal farm comprising of cattle, sheep and goats located at Gajiri, along Abuja-Kaduna express way Suleja LGA Niger State, where some of the animals had symptoms including oozing of blood from their body openings – anus, nose, eyes and ears.”

The FMARD in the statement said that a Rapid Response team comprising federal and state Health Professional workers have visited the farm to conduct preliminary investigations while they also collected samples from the sick animals.
“Subsequent laboratory tests by the National Veterinary Research Institute laboratory confirmed the diagnosis, marking the first recorded case of anthrax in Nigeria in recent years,” the statement read in part.

The Federal Government had in June raised an alarm over the outbreak of a disease known as Anthrax which is in the West African sub-region and urged Nigerians to stop eating ‘pomo’ for now.

FMARD alerted Nigerians that Anthrax is in some neighbouring countries within West Africa, specifically, Northern Ghana bordering Burkina Faso and Togo.

The FMARD Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe in an official statement explained that Anthrax which has claimed some lives is a bacterial disease that affects both animals and man which in turn makes it zoonotic.

“Anthrax is a severe bacterial disease that affects humans and animals, including wild animals and livestock such as cows, pigs, camels, sheep, goats,” he said.
According to him, people can get infected with anthrax spores if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.

However, Umakhihe said that anthrax is not a contagious disease and as a result, one cannot get it by coming in close contact with an infected person.

“Signs of anthrax are flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, muscle aches and if not diagnosed and treated early, lead to pneumonia, severe lung problems, difficulty in breathing, shock and death,” he added.

Umakhihe said that anthrax being a bacterial disease can respond to treatment with antibiotics and supportive therapy.
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