“We Have Machineries On Ground Against Anthrax Disease In Abia”~ Dr Onu

Following reported cases of Anthrax in some parts of Nigeria, The Department of Epidemiology, Disease Surveillance and Control, under the Abia State Ministry of Agriculture is appealing to Abians not to panic as all machineries have been put in place against any case of the disease in the State.

Nigeria had reported its first Anthrax outbreak on Monday, July 17, a few weeks after the federal government warned Nigerians against the consumption of hides (ponmo) as well as smoked and bush meat.

Speaking to newsbuka.com on Monday, The Chief Veterinary Officer/ Director Epidemiology , Disease Surveillance & Control, Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Nwokodi Onu, said Anthrax is a soil-borne disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium and affects mostly animals: goat, sheep, camel, horses, cattles and humans, revealing that the disease has been in existence for years and breaks out once awhile.

He said cattle rearers know much about Anthrax disease, including roots cattles that died in the past of Anthrax, pointing out that this factor makes it an outbreak.

Dr. Onu said till date, Abia State has not recorded any case of the disease, saying that his department has done a lot already in sensitizing butchers at abattoirs not to sell dead animals to the public as this might predispose them to the disease.

He urged Abians not to eat meat from uncertified abattoirs in the State nor those slaughtered outside the abattoirs.

On ways to avoid contraction of the disease, Dr. Nwokodi, enjoined owners of farms, to quarantine their farms, not to allow other people bring in new animals into their farms, maintaining a good bed security in the farm, look out for the signs of Anthrax so as to avoid the disease among others.

He said in animals, part of the symptoms include: sudden death with bloated skin and blood oozing out from the ears, mouth, anus, swollen neck down to their abdomen, informing that in human beings, Anthrax disease can be contracted by inhalation, consumption of meat with Anthrax disease or by contact with animals with Anthrax which can easily be contacted by herders, veterinarians.

Dr. Onu added that part of the symptoms in human beings include weakness of the body, ulcers on the skin with black spots, diarrhea at times mixed with blood, vomiting and fever.

He re-emphasised that there is no need for Abians to panic as the State has a standby team (Abia Public Health Emergency Center) that responds rapidly and controls diseases both from the animal and human angle stationed at posts to ensure that animals with Anthrax do not enter the state, restating that Radio jingles are being prepared to ensure that people are well informed concerning the dangers of Anthrax which according to him has 65% fatality rate.

On a general note, Dr. Nwokodi, said Anthrax is not 100 percent fatal, it can be treated especially if detected early just as he charged people to report cases of Anthrax to appropriate quarters as they have men on ground to attend to it in event of any case while urging Abians to continue to eat meat as there has not been any case of Anthrax in the State.

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