The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have expressed their readiness to partner to check and control the spread of Anthrax disease in the country.
The partnership followed the anxiety created over the emergence of the anthrax outbreak in Nigeria following the report of two recently confirmed cases in Lagos.
FAO spokesman in Nigeria, David Tsokar, disclosed this in a statement issued Tuesday.
According to the statement, on July 13, a suspected case of anthrax was reported in a mixed farm at Sabon Wuse, Niger, and the federal government deployed a rapid response team to collect samples and send them to the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) in Vom, Plateau.
The team confirmed the presence of the disease, and consequently, FMARD announced the government’s plan to intervene and control its possible spread.
Mr Tsokar said the director of the Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services (FDVPCS) in FMARD, Columba Vakuru, said the strategy of interventions includes quarantining the affected farm. Other measures include vaccinating susceptible animals around the infected farm, educating farm workers using the one-health approach, and planning statewide vaccination of susceptible animals.
Through the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), FAO Nigeria was requested to provide technical and financial support for the intervention strategy.
The FAO ECTAD country team lead, Otto Vianney Muhinda, said the partnership “is to be enhanced within the context of the one-health approach, and efforts would be sustained using a strong team of frontline experts,” to prevent the spread of the disease to other parts of the country.
“With the support of USAID, we are pursuing our efforts to mobilise human and financial resources, including the directors of veterinary services from the 36 states and FCT Abuja, to discuss the ongoing anthrax outbreak and evaluate the preparedness of the states vis-à-vis the implementation of strategies to prevent the spread of the disease into the country as well as put in place control measures,” said Mr Muhinda.
The consultative meeting with DVSs from the states would discuss risk assessment and survey, the conduct of mass nationwide vaccination of animals (cattle, sheep, and goats) against anthrax, refresher training for epidemiology officers, and training of livestock professionals, farmers, butchers, and traders on biosecurity measures.