The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday officially confirmed the first case of anthrax in the country.
In a statement signed by the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr. Columba T. Vakuru, 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, 2023.
The statement read in part: “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.”
Recall that the federal government had issued a warning to Nigerians weeks ago after a report of anthrax outbreak in Northern Ghana where all infected animals had died.
Anthrax is a disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus, though mostly affects livestock like cattle, sheep, and goats, but 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.
According to the statement, Nigerians are enjoined 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.