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Nigeria confirms first Anthrax case

The Federal Government yesterday officially confirmed the first case of anthrax in the country. A statement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, signed…

The Federal Government yesterday officially confirmed the first case of anthrax in the country.

A statement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, signed by Dr Columba Vakuru, Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, said animals showing signs of a possible case of anthrax on a farm in Suleja, Niger State, were reported to the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria on July 14.

The ministry said the case was in a multi-specie animal farm comprising cattle, sheep and goats located at Gajiri, along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, Suleja Local Government Area of Niger State, where some of the animals had symptoms including oozing of blood from their body openings like anus, nose, eyes and ears.

It said a rapid response team comprising federal and state health professional team visited the farm to conduct preliminary investigations and collected samples from the sick animals. 

The ministry said subsequent laboratory tests by the National Veterinary Research Institute’s laboratory confirmed the diagnosis, “marking the first recorded case of anthrax in Nigeria in recent years”.

It noted that the federal government issued a warning to Nigerians weeks ago after learning of an anthrax outbreak in Northern Ghana where all infected animals had died.

“Anthrax is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus, which mostly affects livestock like cattle, sheep, and goats. However, it can also infect people who come into contact with infected people or contaminated animal products like meat, wool, or skins. 

“Anthrax that spreads via the skin might result through open wounds or contact with contaminated objects, while anthrax that spreads through the air can happen when spores are inhaled,” it stated.

The ministry said the federal government appealed to Nigerians to immediately report cases of animals bleeding from body openings to veterinary authorities or agriculture extension workers.

“The blood of an anthrax-infected animal does not clot. Do not process or move the dead or sick animal, quickly report to your veterinary doctor or veterinary authorities at the ministry of agriculture in your state,” the statement added.

 

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