by Adegwu John
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Monday, alerted the general public on precautions as Northern Ghana, a border to Burkina Faso and Togo recorded outbreak of Anthrax disease.
Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. It primarily affects animals, particularly livestock and can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals or their products, such as wool, hides, milk meat or through the inhalation of Anthrax spores.
Although Anthrax is not contagious, it can be acquired by inhaling or ingesting spores of the bacteria or through skin contact with contaminated soil or materials.
Anthrax can manifest in several forms, including flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, muscle aches and if not diagnosed and treated early, can lead to pneumonia, severe lunga problems, difficulty in breathing, shocks and death.
According to a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe; Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos States are most at risk due to their proximity to Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana and needed to intensify animal vaccinations, including all States of the federation.
He cautioned against the consumption of hides also known as Ponmo in Yoruba language, smoked and bush meat as they pose serious risk.
According to him, annual vaccinations with Anthrax spore vaccines are available at National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Plateau State and remains the cheapest and easiest means of prevention and control of the disease in animals.
He said, “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.
“Furthermore, relevant institutions and collaborators have been contacted with the aim of controlling the outbreak, This is in addition to the sensitisation of state directors of veterinary services nationwide.”