The Federal Government has donated free 50,000 doses of Anthrax vaccines to the Lagos State Government to curtail the spread of anthrax disease.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Ezeaja Ikemefuna, Assistant Director, Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Monday in Abuja.
He said that this was to mitigate the spread of the anthrax disease to animals and human as well as to ensure the safety of the livestock sub-sector.
Ikemefuna said that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, who spoke at the event, said that the donation of the vaccines would fast track vaccination of animals against anthrax disease.
Umakhihe said that this would also ensure that butchers sells healthy meat as well as safeguard the livestock sub-sector.
The permanent secretary was represented by the Deputy Director, Veterinary and Pests Control, Dr Abdulkareem Durosinlorun.
He said that anthrax was an infectious zoonosis disease, caused by bacteria affects both domestic and wild animals and could also affect human especially, those working closely with infected animals.
Umakhihe said that the bacteria which exist as spores, could be found in the soil, wool or hair of infected animals.
He explained that animals could be infected when they breath in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plant or water and humans could get it when they inhale or breath in the spores.
The permanent secretary said that humans could also get infected when they eat contaminated meat, or come in contact with the skin through wounds or cuts while handling a sick or dead anthrax infected animal.
Umakhihe appealed to the State Government for robust public awareness and sensitisation engagement among stakeholders towards prevention and control of the disease in Lagos.
“The essence of our visit is to create awareness and sensitisation among stakeholders in the prevention and control of disease in the country.
“We have also provided 50,000 free dosage of the Anthrax vaccine to the state in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
“The cattle merchants and butchers need to know the symptoms and signs of this disease so that they can immediately alert the veterinary authorities,’’ he said.
He underscored the need to mount surveillance in slaughter slabs, abattoirs, livestock markets and at the point of entries in the state to detect the disease early before it spreads.
In a remark, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry for Agriculture, Mrs Ibironke Emokpae, appreciated the federal government for its support in curtailing the spread of the anthrax disease in the state.
“Vaccinations have begun in the state and we have set up surveillance and biosecurity at points of entry of abattoirs in Lagos to detect any ailing animal.
“We are collaborating with the Lagos Ministry for Health and promise to put in more efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Lagos state has developed a house-to-house vaccination campaign because it is an urban area where some people do urban farming, Lagos is taking the vaccination campaign to urban livestock farmers,’’ she said.
The Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Abdullahi Lalega, on a sensitisation visit to Oko-oba cattle market and abattoir, Agege, pledged the commitment of the cattle merchants and butchers towards the fight against the disease.
He affirmed that they were aware of the disease and would ensure adherence to safety measures.
Lalega promised to give all the necessary support to ensure that the disease is curtailed.
On his part, the Country Team Leader, FAO of the UN in Nigeria, Dr Otto Muhinda, commended the Lagos state government for its initiatives in creating awareness of the disease and prevention measures.
“We have seen that the awareness is very high, we appreciate the way of the people, local authorities, butchers and the cattle merchants are aware of this outbreak.
“We look forward to continue the monitoring in other states, we need to sensitise more stakeholders on national level for a national strategy to stop the spread of the disease,” he said.