Nigeria confirms first case of anthrax

Nigeria confirms first case of anthrax

ABUJA, July 17 (Xinhua) —

Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed the index case of anthrax in a farm in the country’s central Niger State, over one month after issuing an alert on the outbreak of the disease in some neighboring West African countries.

In a statement issued in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the index case was detected after some animals were suspected to be manifesting the symptoms of the disease in Suleja local government area of the state.

“The case was in a multi-specie animal farm comprising of cattle, sheep, and goats located at Gajiri, along Abuja-Kaduna expressway of the Suleja local government area, where some of the animals had symptoms including oozing of blood from their body openings – anus, nose, eyes and ears,” the statement said, noting that all animals affected had died.

Anthrax is caused by a spore-forming bacterium. Although it mainly affects animals, humans can become infected through contact with an infected animal or by inhaling spores.

On June 13, the Nigerian government issued an alert on the disease and advised citizens to desist from the consumption of cowhides which are commonly eaten in the country. The government specifically stated that the disease was widespread in northern Ghana, bordering Burkina Faso and Togo.

In response to the index case, the Nigerian authorities said a rapid response team conducted preliminary investigations and collected samples from the sick animals, adding that proactive measures had been taken to ensure the outbreak was controlled and contained quickly in Nigeria.

“This includes quarantine of the affected farm, deployment of anthrax spore vaccines to the affected and adjoining farms to vaccinate in-contact animals, and educating the farm workers of the affected farms on symptoms, preventive measures, and what to do when they encounter suspected cases,” the statement said.

It added that plans were also underway to conduct nationwide vaccination of cattle, sheep and goats against anthrax while upscaling the surveillance of anthrax in livestock farms, markets and abattoirs.

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