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FG confirms first case of Anthrax disease in Nigeria

Leadway Assurance, one of Nigeria’s foremost underwriting players has taken assertive measures to offer critical risk mitigation guidance and support to farmers in response to concerns surrounding recent anthrax outbreak.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says it has confirmed an anthrax disease case in Niger State, Nigeria.

Columba Vakuru, chief veterinary officer of Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

According to him, animals manifesting symptoms of suspected cases of anthrax were spotted in a farm in Suleja, 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 expressway Suleja LGA Niger State, where some of the animals had symptoms including oozing of blood from their body openings – anus, nose, eyes and ears.

“A rapid response team comprising of federal and state, health professional team visited the farm to conduct preliminary investigations and 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 and after the report of an outbreak of anthrax in Northern Ghana a few weeks ago. All animals affected have died,” he said.

Anthrax is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, which primarily affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats but can also infect humans who come into direct contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products, such as meat, wool or hides.

Read also: Health expert decries high alcohol consumption rate in Nigeria

Also, inhalation of anthrax may occur through the inhalation of spores, while cutaneous anthrax can result from contact with contaminated materials or through open wounds.

He however assured that the federal government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and rural development in collaboration with the Niger state government has taken proactive
measures to ensure the outbreak is controlled and contained.

Vakuru has advised Nigerians to avoid contact with meat/bush meat or animal by-products such as skin, hides (“kpomo”) and milk of a sick or dead animal.

“Do not slaughter sick animals, slaughtering the sick animal can expose the anthrax spores which can be inhaled by humans if the animal is infected with
anthrax.

“Hunters should not pick sick or dead animals from the bush or forest to be sold for human consumption.

“Sick animals should be isolated and strict quarantine measures implemented to prevent the spread of anthrax to other animals or humans. Early detection and reporting of suspected anthrax cases in animals or humans is important for implementing effective control measures,” he added.