The Lagos State government is sensitizing stakeholders who sell meat on the importance of curbing communicable diseases.

Anthrax: Low Sensitisation Puts Nigeria At Risk Of Outbreak – Expert

There are currently concerns over a potential outbreak of Anthrax in Nigeria due to the poor sensitisation of citizens on the awareness and dangers associated with the disease.

On 12th June, 2023, Nigerians woke up to the news of outbreak of the infectious disease in Northern Ghana, a region bordering Burkina Faso and Togo.

According to the permanent secretary, ministry of Agriculture and rural development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe who made the announcement via statement, mentions that the states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos are most at risk due to their proximity to Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana. As such he called for the need to intensify animal vaccinations, in all states of the federation.

Anthrax which is caused by the bacteria, Bacillus anthracis, primarily affects livestock and can be transmitted to humans. Although not contagious, the disease has the potential to spread rapidly.

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According to Umakhihe, Nigerians should desist from consumption of hides otherwise known as ‘pomo’, smoked and bush meat as they pose serious risks.

Although the permanent secretary urged the public to remain calm and vigilant, he also noted that the federal government has resuscitated a Standing Committee on the control of Anthrax in the ministry, with relevant institutions and collaborators which have been contacted with the aim of controlling the outbreak in addition to the sensitisation of state directors of veterinary services nationwide.

However, stakeholders are skeptical about the capacity of the country to prevent the possible outbreak of the disease barely two weeks after the announcement.

A veterinarian and CEO, El-Mond Veterinary Services, Abuja, Dr Monday Ojeamiren told me that the level of preparedness to prevent Anthrax disease spreading to Nigeria is not far from zero. Ojeamiren decried poor awareness by Nigerians regarding the disease.