Home News Incineration best disposal method for anthrax carcasses – NCDC

Incineration best disposal method for anthrax carcasses – NCDC

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has advised Nigerians to incinerate anthrax carcasses, stressing that it remains the ideal method of disposing and curbing the spread of the disease.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday that where this method was not possible, deep burial was the alternative.

The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Monday, officially confirmed the first case of anthrax in the country.

A statement signed by the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr. Columba Vakuru, the animals were showing signs of a possible case of anthrax on a farm in Suleja, Niger State.

He said that it was reported to the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria on July 14, 2023.

According to Adetifa, livestock farmers while disposing of the anthrax-infected carcass should ensure that they dig pits that is 6–8 feet, two metres deep, while the bottom should be well above the water table (minimum of three feet (0.9 m).

“Considering the water table level and soil composition, clay soil is preferable, whereas, sand or gravel should be avoided,” he advised.

Adetifa said that anthrax was a contagious and highly fatal zoonotic bacterial disease affecting primarily herbivores.

He said that the clinical symptoms seen in animals infected with anthrax include high fever at the start of the infection, then restlessness, convulsions, and death.

“Not infrequently, livestock die suddenly without clinical symptoms. Some easily spotted clinical symptoms that include bleeding from the orifices, such as ears, nose, and mouth,” he added

Adetifa said that mortality can be very high, especially in herbivores, adding that the disease has a worldwide distribution and was a zoonosis.

“The etiological agent is the endospore-forming, Gram-positive, non-motile, rod-shaped Bacillus anthracic. And has an almost worldwide distribution.

“Once introduced into an area, anthrax is maintained in the environment by resistant spores that may remain dormant in the soil for many years.

“Spores are more likely to persist in areas with ideal soil conditions alkaline, calcium-rich,” he said.

According to him, Anthrax is a re-emerging infection and consequently, endemic areas may provide additional sources of alternative strains of B. anthracic for bioterrorism, which places global security at renewed risk.

He urged livestock farmers to report suspected cases of the disease at their livestock farms, cattle markets and other areas with the aforementioned symptoms of Anthtax.

Adetifa said that Nigerians should be vigilant and report any unusual happenings, such as sickness or sudden death of animals on their farms.

He advised animal owners to intensify efforts on annual vaccination and proper disposal of infected dead animals by burying them deep in the soil after applying disinfectant chemicals.

The NCDC boss advised Nigerians to refrain from consuming the meat of livestock infected with anthrax.

“This is because boiling the meat for hours will not kill the bacteria. Once the spore is inhaled, people usually experience death within 24 hours,” he said.

Adetifa noted that all infectious diseases have amplified the importance of hand washing with soap to reduce the spread.

He said that the majority of germs that caused serious infections in humans were transmitted by people’s actions.

The NCDC boss said that the promotion of hand hygiene was one of the most cost-effective public health interventions for the prevention and control of infections, particularly those caused by epidemic-prone pathogens.

According to him, it is important for Nigerians, particularly nurses, doctors, and healthcare technicians, who are in direct contact with people, to practise hand hygiene to avoid being infected by any type of disease.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) explained that anthrax is primarily a zoonotic disease in herbivores caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis.

The bacteria live in the soil and usually infect wild and domestic animals, such as goats, cattle and sheep.

Anthrax outbreaks are fairly common worldwide and mostly affect agricultural workers.

Humans become sick with the disease by handling animal products such as wool, hide or bone from animals infected with the anthrax bacterium.

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