This post is all about Anthrax Disease, the new outbreak disease in town. This article will make you to understand how it affects Human and ways to prevent Anthrax. Read carefully!
Recently, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have confirmed one case of Anthrax disease in a mixed livestock farm in Nigeria (Niger State). This is the first animal case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the West Africa outbreak in Ghana in June 2023.
A report shows that the animals that died were observed to have been bleeding from external orifices without blood clotting.
Meanwhile, The FMARD and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) are currently working closely with the Niger State Ministries of Health and Agriculture to identify, isolate and follow up all exposed persons.
Anthrax is a severe disease caused by the bacteria – Bacillus anthracis. It can affect both humans and animals, including wild animals and livestock such as cows, pigs, camels, sheep, goats, etc.
The bacteria, which exist as spores, can be found in the soil, wool, or hair of infected animals. Anthrax spores are resistant to extreme conditions and can survive in the soil or environment for decades, making controlling or eradicating the disease very difficult. The spores are brought to the surface by wet weather, by deep digging, or when eaten by livestock or wild animals when they graze.
Ways in which Anthrax can affects humans
- Skin infection, i.e., direct contact with infected animals through wounds or cuts
- Gastrointestinal, i.e., through eating raw or undercooked meat of infected animals or their products including milk.
- Inhalation, i.e., breathing in the spores (the deadliest form of the disease)
- Persons at risk of contracting anthrax
- People who handle animals, i.e., veterinarians, veterinary laboratory workers, farmers, abattoir workers, butchers, cattle rearers, livestock producers and traders, wildlife handlers, hunters, park rangers, processors, importers, and exporters of hide and skin, animal health workers etc.
- People who consume animals (cattle, sheep, and goats) that were found dead
- Healthcare workers, diagnostic laboratory workers and caregivers who are exposed to patients or their biological specimens
- Law enforcement officers (Police, Military, Immigration, Customs, Point of Entry Personnel etc.).
- Anyone travelling to a location with a confirmed anthrax case within and outside Nigeria.
How to prevent Anthrax Disease
- Exercise caution when buying animals – cows, camels, sheep, goats, and other livestock – from Nigerian states bordering Benin, Chad, and Niger, and from Ghana and Togo via waterways.
- Carefully observe livestock to be slaughtered for consumption or sale for signs of ill health before slaughtering.
- Do not slaughter animals (cattle, sheep, and goats) at home, rather make use of abattoirs or slaughter slabs.
- Avoid contact with meat/bush meat or animal by-products such as skin, hides (“kpomo”) and milk of a sick or dead animal.
- Do NOT SLAUGHTER sick animals. Slaughtering the sick animal can cause significant exposure with risk of inhalation of the bacteria by humans around at the time
- Do NOT EAT products from sick or dead animals.
- Hunters SHOULD NOT pick sick or dead animals from the bush or forest to be sold for human consumption
- Report any incidence of sudden death of animals to the nearest veterinary authorities or the State Ministry of Agriculture. In addition, report this to the State Ministry of Health authorities in case anthrax is confirmed and human contacts need to be managed.
- Anthrax is treatable when reported early. Call the NCDC on our toll-free line (6232) if you notice any of the signs and symptoms associated with anthrax for prompt treatment.