Anthrax Disease: FCTA Increases Surveillance, Creates Awareness

By: Wisdom Acka

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has intensified efforts to increase surveillance over suspected cases of anthrax from imported animals from neighboring countries.

The Administration has also launched improved awareness campaigns to ward off potential incidences of disease.

The Director, Veterinary Services, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, FCT, Regina Adaulugba gave this assurance in a media chat in Abuja, Thursday.

Her words: “The fear is importing infected animals from neighbouring countries. There is every risk that it could come here so to be on the safe side, we have began a sensitisation programme already.”

Adaulugba, however, noted that though Nigeria has yet to record any case of the disease, the FCTA was being proactive in tightening up surveillance across control posts of its borders to prevent any outbreak.

“This is especially following reports of outbreak of the disease in neighbouring Ghana, last month,” she said.

According to her, in compliance with directives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to States to create awareness about the disease, the FCTA has concluded plans to embark on full scale sensitisation campaigns, particularly among herders, butchers and other stakeholders since they are the most group at risk of contacting the disease to guard against outbreak of the dishwasher in the nation’s capital.

She disclosed: “We did one in Dei-Dei Abattoir, where we gathered the butchers and meat handlers, because they are the most people at risk.”

“People who trade in animals, butcher animals, those who handle them, Veterinary Doctors, personnel that have anything to do with animals. These are the people most at risk and they are the people who should take proper precautions”, she explained.

She provided the disease symptoms to look out for: “If they see any symptom of high fever, sudden death, bleeding from the nose, mouth, ear, they must report such, because this is typical with anthrax carcass.

“If they see blood that doesn’t cloth, they should quickly report to the Veterinary Department and we can take proper measures”, she stressed.

Adaulugba assured: “As we speak, we have all the equipment that we can immediately do something before they ask for external assistance”.

The Director, thus, advised residents to always call attention of expert veterinary centers before disposing sick or dead animals.

She also cautioned residents and butchers to avoid buying or selling sick animals or slaughtering them for consumption.

Abuja Digest gathered that anthrax is caused by a spore-forming bacterium, and it is a highly risky disease because it affects both humans and animals, and can be transmitted through contact with wounds or consumption of an infected animal, and air -by inhaling spores from infected bodies.