The federal government is urging states in the country to step up livestock vaccination as it confirmed the outbreak of Anthrax disease in some neighbouring countries, including northern Ghana bordering Burkina Faso and Togo.
Disclosing this in a statement, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhihe said that the disease which has claimed some lives, is a bacterial and zoonotic disease that affects both animals and man.
“Anthrax spores are naturally found in the soil and commonly affect domestic and wild animals but people can get infected with Anthrax spores if they come in contact with infected animals.
“However, Anthrax is not a contagious disease and so, one cannot get it by coming in close contact with an infected person,” he said.
Symptoms of Anthrax, according to Umakhihe includes; cough, fever, muscle aches which if not diagnosed and treated early can lead to pneumonia, severe lung problems, difficulty in breathing, shock and death.
He also noted that being a bacterial disease, Anthrax responds to treatment with antibiotics and supportive therapy.
“It is primarily a disease of animals but because of man’s closeness to animals, non vaccinated animals with anthrax can easily transmit it to man through the inhalation of anthrax spores or consumption of contaminated/ infected animal products, such as hides and skin, meat or milk.
“So in this present case, there is the need to intensify animal vaccinations along border states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states because of their proximity to Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana. Other states of Nigeria are equally advised to join in the exercise.
“However, infected animals cannot be vaccinated but animals at risk can be vaccinated.
“Infected dead animals should be buried deep into the soil along with equipment used in the burial after applying chemicals that will kill the Anthrax spores,” he said.
He stated that annual vaccinations with Anthrax spore vaccines are available at the National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Plateau State adding that it is the cheapest and easiest means of prevention and control of the disease in Animals.
“The general public is strongly advised to desist from the consumption of hides (pomo), smoked meat and bush meat as they pose serious risk until the situation is brought under Control.
“Meanwhile, the Public is urged to remain calm and vigilant as the Federal Government has resuscitated a standing committee on the control of Anthrax in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.”