Nigeria Confirms First Anthrax Case

by Mercy Ulasi

The nation’s first case of anthrax was formally confirmed by the Federal Government yesterday.

Animals displaying possible anthrax symptoms on a farm in Suleja, Niger State, were reported to the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria on July 14, according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and signed by Dr. Columba Vakuru.

The case, according to the ministry, involved a farm with a variety of animals, including cattle, sheep, and goats. The farm was in the Suleja Local Government Area of Niger State, at Gajiri, along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway. Some of the animals had symptoms like blood oozing from their anuses, noses, 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”.

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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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