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Anthrax: Senate seeks nationwide vaccination of livestock

The Senate on Wednesday called for nationwide vaccination of livestock especially in the border states to prevent the outbreak of anthrax disease in the country. …

The Senate on Wednesday called for nationwide vaccination of livestock especially in the border states to prevent the outbreak of anthrax disease in the country. 

 It also urged the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism to begin intensive awareness campaigns to sensitise Nigerians on the outbreak of the anthrax disease, symptoms for early detection and prevention guidelines. 

This followed a motion by Senator Ezenwa Francis Onyewuchi (Imo East) during Wednesday’s plenary. 

 The federal government had last month raised the alarm over the outbreak of anthrax disease, a deadly zoonotic bacterium, in countries across the ECOWAS region, including Ghana and Togo.

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The public health advisory, jointly signed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), indicated that Nigeria was at high risk of importing the deadly anthrax disease from Ghana, where it had been confirmed both in humans and animals. 

According to the media in Ghana, three human and 30 animal deaths have been recorded, and 13 cases have tested positive for the anthrax disease in the country as of June 2023.  

Onyewuchi noted that though anthrax is primarily a disease of animals, non-vaccinated animals with anthrax could 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. 

He said though Nigeria is yet to record any suspected or confirmed case, the outbreak in Ghana posed a great public health risk to the country due to the highly transmissible nature of the disease. 

The Senate, after considering and adopting the motion, urged the NCDC, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Federal Ministry of Health to embark on nationwide vaccination of livestock with the anthrax spore vaccine, most especially, in the border states of the country.