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FG Declares First Anthrax Case In Nigeria



After revealing on Monday that the illness had been found in a farm in Niger State, the Federal Government has now confirmed the first case of anthrax in Nigeria.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development made this public in a statement on Monday, stating that it “is deeply concerned to announce the confirmation of an anthrax case in Niger State, Nigeria.”


It continued, “On July 14, 2023, the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria received notification that animals on a farm in Suleja, Niger State, were exhibiting signs consistent with a suspected incidence of anthrax.

“The instance happened on a multi-species farm with cattle, sheep, and goats, which was located at Gajiri, along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, Suleja LGA Niger State. Some of the animals showed symptoms including seeping blood from their body openings, including their anus, nose, eyes, and ears.


“A Rapid Response team made up of a federal and state One Health Professional Team visited the farm to carry out initial research and gather samples from the ill animals.

Following the report of an anthrax epidemic in Northern Ghana a few weeks ago, “Following the report of an outbreak of anthrax in Northern Ghana, subsequent laboratory tests by the National Veterinary Research Institute laboratory confirmed the diagnosis, marking the first recorded case of anthrax in Nigeria in recent years.”


The statement claims that every animal impacted has passed away.

Following proven outbreaks in Ghana and other West African nations, the Ministry had previously warned of the possibility of anthrax entering the nation.


The spore-forming bacteria Bacillus anthracis is the primary cause of the serious zoonotic disease anthrax, which mostly affects cattle, sheep, and goats but can also infect humans who come into touch with sick animals or eat contaminated animal products.

Additionally, contaminated pasture, feed, and water can spread the disease.


Blood seeping from natural body openings (such as the nose, ear, mouth, and anal region) is one of the clinical indications of anthrax in animals, along with abrupt death.

Anthrax spores can survive for decades in a polluted setting.


The federal government claimed to have taken proactive steps to quickly control and limit the disease through the Ministry and in partnership with the Niger state government.

These include placing the affected farm under quarantine; distributing 50,000 doses of anthrax vaccine for ring vaccination of animal species that are susceptible to the disease around the affected farm; and educating the farm workers using a One-health approach on the symptoms, preventive measures, and what to do when they notice any signs of the disease.


The strategy for statewide anthrax vaccination of susceptible animals has also been finalized. Passive monitoring actions in livestock farms, markets, and abattoirs have also been intensified. Targeted public awareness campaigns about anthrax have also been stepped up.

The Ministry also advised all farm owners who keep cattle to be watchful and alert, to report any illness or fatalities on their properties as soon as they are suspected, to avoid contact with sick or deceased animals and their products, and to steer clear of killing sick animals because doing so can expose people to anthrax spores.


Livestock owners are also advised to practice appropriate biosecurity procedures, avoid contact with wild animals and products like “bush” meat, report any instances of an animal’s sudden death to the local veterinary authorities, wear personal protective equipment (gloves, facemasks, goggles, boots), and dispose of all animal cases in an environmentally friendly manner after consulting with veterinarians, environmentalists, and other experts.


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