FG Confirms First Case Of Anthrax In Nigeria

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and rural development has said that it has identified a few cases of anthrax in some farm animals in Niger State.  

The ministry, however, failed to disclose the name of the affected farm and the extent of the infection.

Anthrax is an infection caused by the spore-forming bacteria, Bacillus anthracis. It usually affects ruminants like cows, sheep, and goats.

It is a zoonotic disease, transmitted from contaminated animals to humans.

Humans can contact it if they handle or engage in the slaughter of a sick animal, or are in contact with contaminated animal products.

The confirmation of cases of anthrax in Nigeria was contained in a statement issued by Columba Vakuru, the chief veterinary officer of Nigeria, on Monday, stating that there was a notification on July 14 of animals manifesting symptoms of anthrax in a multi-specie farm in Suleja, Niger State.

According to Vakuru, some of the infected animals had symptoms, including oozing of blood from their body openings – anus, nose, eyes, and ears.

The statement read, “A rapid response team comprising of federal and states one health professional team visited the farm to conduct preliminary investigations and collected samples from the sick animals.

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“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 and after the report of an outbreak of anthrax in Northern Ghana a few weeks ago. All animals affected have died.”

The ministry said that it has taken proactive measures, in collaboration with the Niger state government, to ensure the outbreak is controlled and contained quickly in Nigeria.

It added, “These include quarantine of the affected farm, deployment of anthrax spore vaccines to the affected and adjoining farms to vaccinate in-contact animals, educating the farm workers of the affected farms on symptoms, preventive measures and what to do when they encounter with a suspected case.

“The federal ministry of agriculture and rural development hereby encourages all livestock owners to remain vigilant and promptly report any suspicious illness or deaths in their animals and to avoid contact with sick or dead animals and their products, to exercise caution when buying animals — cows, camels, sheep, goats, and other livestock — from Nigerian states bordering Benin, Chad, and Niger, and from Ghana and Togo via waterways.”

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

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