The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) is urging Nigerians to exercise caution following the recent outbreak of anthrax, a potentially fatal disease that can be contracted from infected animals or through contaminated products.
The Director-General/CEO of NBMA, Dr Agnes Yemisi Asagbra who made the call in a press statement made available to journalists on Tuesday 13th June, 2023 said anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium which mainly affects livestock particularly cattle, sheep and goats. She said that humans can become infected through contact with an infected animal or by inhaling spores and called on Nigerians to be cautious as cases of human transmission have been reported in Ghana. “The sickness, is a zoonotic disease caused by germs that may spread from animals to humans.” Dr. Asagbra urged the general public to avoid direct contact with sick or dead animals especially those exhibiting symptoms associated with anthrax and urged farmers, herders, and individuals involved in animal husbandry to take extra care and seek veterinary assistance if they suspect any signs of illness in their livestock.
If anthrax is not identified and treated promptly, it can cause pneumonia, serious lung issues, breathing difficulties, shock, and death. Symptoms of anthrax include flu-like symptoms like coughing, fever, and muscular aches.
Dr. Mrs. Agness Yemisi Asagbra
She said proper hygiene practices should be followed when handling and processing animal products. “It is recommended to wear protective clothing, such as gloves, when handling raw animal hides. Thoroughly wash hands and equipment with soap and water after contact with animal products.” The DG/CEO said anthrax can survive in improperly processed animal products and urged the public to ensure that animal products are thoroughly cooked at high temperatures to eliminate any potential bacteria. “We also implore all stakeholders in the food and agricultural industry to prioritize safety measures and adhere to biosafety regulations in order to safeguard the health of our citizens.”
Dr. Asagbra said the Agency remains committed to working with relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety and well-being of all Nigerians and urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspected cases of anthrax or contaminated animal products to the nearest medical center. “It is crucial for all Nigerians to remain calm but vigilant. By adhering to these precautionary measures, we can collectively mitigate the risks associated with the anthrax outbreak and protect both animal and human health.”
Gloria Ogbaki Head Information and Communication NBMA