The Federal Government, on Tuesday, announced that it had commenced the free vaccination of cattle, sheep and goats against anthrax to ensure the safety of livestock and prevent the spread of the disease to unaffected animals and humans.
It said the vaccination was being done in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, explaining that anthrax was a zoonotic disease, caused by a bacteria that affects both domestic and wild animals, and could also affect humans, especially those working closely with infected animals.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhihe, announced the commencement of the vaccination programme during a sympathy visit to the Emir of Suleja in Niger State.
Anthrax was recently discovered at a farm in Suleja in Niger State and was announced by the FMARD.
The ministry said, in a statement issued in Abuja, on Tuesday, that its permanent secretary announced the commencement of the free vaccination through the Deputy Director, Veterinary and Pests Control Services, Abdulkareem Durosinlorun.
It stated that to mitigate the effect of the disease, the Federal Government deployed 50,000 doses of anthrax vaccines to the state for the commencement of mass vaccination of all livestock within a 12km radius of the farm where the disease was first diagnosed.
Umakhihe revealed that plans were underway to carry out a free anthrax vaccination campaign in other states.
“We have also placed restrictions of movement on animals within the farm where the outbreak occurred for the next 20 days, from the date of the onset of the outbreak.
“This is to ensure that if these animals are infected, they do not infect other animals around them. The farm, its equipment and surroundings will also be thoroughly disinfected, while the ministry will also mount surveillance in slaughter slabs, abattoirs and livestock markets around the farm and similar locations across the country to detect the disease early before it spreads,” he said.
Umakhihe also revealed that all the persons who came in contact with the disease had been placed on prophylactic treatment and were being monitored closely.
The Emir of Suleja, Muhammad Awwal, commended the Federal Government for its prompt response, noting that the outbreak of the disease in his domain came as a shock.
The highlights of the event included the vaccination of animals in Boyiwa, Kajanna and Acerbus farms in Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State.
The team also went on an advocacy and sensitisation visit to Suleja Abattoir, Livestock Market, Primary Healthcare Centres and General Hospital, Suleja, Niger State.