Federal Government, on Monday, officially confirmed the first case of anthrax in the country.
Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr. Columba T. Vakuru, in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said animals showing signs of a possible case of anthrax on a farm in Suleja, Niger State, were reported to his office on July 14, 2023.
The statement read, “The case was in a multi-specie animal farm comprising of cattle, sheep and goats located at Gajiri, along Abuja-Kaduna express way 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 states One 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.”
Recently, the Federal Government warned Nigerians, 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.
Federal Government, therefore, 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.”