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FG confirms outbreak of Anthrax in Nigeria

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad

THE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday confirmed outbreak of Anthrax in Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe.

Umakhihe in confirming the first case said it was detected in Niger State, close to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on a farm and confirmed on Sunday July 16, 2023, by the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI)-Vom, Plateau State.

The statement reads in part, “Last week our disease surveillance team reported a suspicion of anthrax in a multi-species animal farm comprising of cattle, sheep, goats and poultry located at Gajiri, along Abuja-Kaduna express way Suleja LGA Niger state.

“A Rapid Response Team comprising of Federal and state One-Health professionals visited the farm and conducted detailed disease outbreak investigation.

“On the 16th of July 2023, the Ministry received a report of confirmation of anthrax in Niger state, from the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI)-Vom, Plateau state, making it the first recorded case of anthrax in Nigeria in recent years.

According to the Ministry, “The Federal Government, through the Ministry and in collaboration with the Niger state government has taken proactive measures to timely control and contain the disease.

Such measures include: Quarantine of the affected farm; Deployment of 50,000 doses of anthrax vaccines for ring vaccination of susceptible animals’ species around the infected farm; Educating the farm workers using One-health approach on the symptoms, preventive measures and what to do when they notice any sign of the disease.

“Finalization of plan for state-wide vaccination of susceptible animals against anthrax; Intensification of passive surveillance activities in livestock farms, markets and abattoirs; Heightening targeted public awareness campaigns on anthrax.”

However, the Ministry warned livestock owners to remain vigilant and promptly report any suspicion of illness or deaths on their farms.

 “Also, the Ministry hereby urges all livestock owners to: Remain very vigilant and promptly report any suspicion of illness or deaths on their farms; Avoid contact with sick or dead animals and their products.

“Avoid slaughtering of sick animals; Slaughtering of sick animals can expose people to anthrax spores; Avoid contact with wild animals and products such as ‘bush’ meat.

“Report any incidence of sudden death of animals to the nearest veterinary authorities; Use personal protective equipment (gloves, facemasks, goggles, boots) when handling sick animals or dead animals.

“Practice good biosecurity measures; Dispose all cases of animals in an environmentally friendly manner and in consultation with veterinarians, environmental and public health officers.

“Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure against anthrax in livestock, consult with a veterinarian.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry allayed fears about the outbreak that is already trending, “Once again, with your cooperation we are putting in place critical and necessary steps to contain the disease.

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in close and effective One-Health oriented collaboration with major stakeholders such the Federal Ministries of Health, Environment and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as our Development Partners will continue to provide updates on the situation of the disease, please.

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