The Director of Veterinary Services, Cross River’s Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Obi Patrick has warned Nigerians and state governments that anthrax can spread beyond boundaries, if not stopped.
While speaking with journalists on Monday in Calabar, the director said there is need to create adequate awareness for the public to understand the presence and prevention of anthrax disease.
Recall that the disease was first noticed in Lagos on July 30, in six livestock, after it was first discovered in Niger on July 17, following its observation in some West African nations.
Dr Obi who was reacting to misconception by some Nigerians that the disease could only be in the north, said no state in the nation should assume that the deadly disease could not get to it but be prepared incase of any eventualities.
His words :”The disease which can affect man when he consumes affected meat or comes in contact with animals or materials that are contaminated can also affect a man when he inhales the spores of the pathogen.
“As a state, we need to create awareness, let members of the public know that there is a disease outbreak that has been reported and be on the alert.
“For those who like to consume bush meat and hide (Pomo), you have to slow down now or only eat hide from approved abattoirs where you are sure that the meats are inspected by officials of the state government,” he said.
According to Obi before the outbreak of the disease, the department of veterinary services in the state Ministry of Agriculture had control posts where all the animals coming into the state were stopped and checked.
He said following the news of an outbreak, they had to intensify their surveillance to ensure that animals that were sick or dead were not allowed into Cross River.
“For those already in the state, livestock owners are advised to report any case of sick animals in their farms or at home to a Veterinary doctor or the department of veterinary services, nothing should be taken for granted.
“Obvious clinical signs of anthrax include dullness, going off feed, in a very short time, the animal becomes very sick and bleeds from its body openings without the blood clothing.
“Also, when the animal dies, its carcass does not become stiff; these are clear suspicions but final diagnosis is a laboratory examination which is done in the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Plateau,” Dr Obi said.