Anthrax Disease: FG Warns Against Consumption Of Bush Meat, ‘Ponmo’

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The federal government has issued an alert over the outbreak of anthrax disease in some neighbouring countries, and the consumption of hides (ponmo).

In a statement on Monday, Ernest Umakhihe, permanent secretary, ministry of agriculture, said the disease has claimed some lives in northern Ghana–bordering Burkina Faso and Togo.

Anthrax is an infection caused by the spore-forming bacteria, Bacillus anthracis. It typically affects ruminants such as cows, sheep, and goats.

It is a zoonosis which means it is transmissible from contaminated animals to humans.

Humans can get infected if they handle or are involved in the slaughter of a sick animal, or are in contact with contaminated animal products.

Anthrax Disease: FG Warns Against Consumption Of Bush Meat, ‘Ponmo’

Anthrax is, however, not spread from person to person by casual contact.

Symptoms of the disease include cough, fever, muscle aches and if not diagnosed and treated early, pneumonia, severe lung problems, shock and death.

Umakhihe said non-vaccinated animals with anthrax can easily transmit it to man through the inhalation of anthrax spores or consumption of contaminated animal products.

He said there is therefore a need to intensify animal vaccinations along border states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun and Lagos because of their proximity to Burkina Faso, Togo and Ghana.

“Other states of Nigeria are equally advised to join in the exercise,” the statement reads.

“Infected dead animals should be buried deep into the soil along with equipment used in the burial after applying chemicals that will kill the anthrax spores.

“The general public is strongly advised to desist from the consumption of hides (ponmo), smoked meat and bush meat as they pose serious risk; until the situation is brought under control.

“Meanwhile, the public is urged to remain calm and vigilant as the federal government has resuscitated a standing committee on the control of anthrax in the ministry of agriculture and rural development.

“Furthermore, relevant institutions and collaborators have been contacted with the aim of controlling the outbreak. This is in addition to the sensitisation of state directors of veterinary services nationwide.”