Agric Ministry Urges Nigerians to Avoid Consumption of ‘Pomo’, Bush Meat Amid Anthrax Outbreak

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued a plea to Nigerians to refrain from consuming hides (known locally as ‘pomo’), smoked meat, and bush meat due to an ongoing outbreak of Anthrax in neighboring countries.

In a statement signed by Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, it was emphasized that the disease can be transmitted from infected animals to humans.

The outbreak of Anthrax is currently affecting areas along the northern border of Ghana, neighboring Burkina Faso and Togo. Anthrax spores are naturally present in the soil and can commonly infect both domestic and wild animals.

Humans can become infected with Anthrax by coming into contact with contaminated animal products or infected animals themselves. However, it is important to note that Anthrax is not a contagious disease.

Symptoms of Anthrax resemble those of the flu, including cough, fever, and muscle aches. If not diagnosed and treated early, it can lead to severe lung problems, pneumonia, difficulty breathing, shock, and even death.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development stressed the importance of prompt medical attention for anyone experiencing these symptoms.

The general public is strongly advised to abstain from consuming hides (pomo), smoked meat, and bush meat, as these products pose a significant risk until the situation is brought under control.

The ministry assured the public that a Standing Committee on the Control of Anthrax has been revitalized, and efforts are being made to collaborate with relevant institutions in order to contain the outbreak.

“State directors of veterinary services across Nigeria have also been sensitized to the issue” he noted.

Dr. Umakhihe further explained that Anthrax is primarily a disease of animals, but due to human proximity to animals, non-vaccinated animals can transmit the disease to humans through the inhalation of Anthrax spores or the consumption of contaminated animal products such as hides, skin, meat, or milk.

The Permanent Secretary called upon the border states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos to intensify animal vaccination efforts, given their close proximity to Burkina Faso, Togo, and Ghana.

“While infected animals cannot be vaccinated, it is crucial to vaccinate animals at risk. Other states in Nigeria are also encouraged to participate in the vaccination campaign” the Perm Sec advised.

Dr. Umakhihe recommended burying infected dead animals deep in the soil and treating the burial equipment with chemicals that can kill Anthrax spores.

Meanwhile, he also made it known that, “Annual vaccinations with Anthrax spore vaccines are available at National Veterinary Research Institute Vom, Plateau State and is the cheapest and easiest means of prevention and control of the disease in animals.”

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