By Mercy Agok and Roselyn Yusuf
Unethical practices in the veterinary industry have raised concerns about a possible anthrax outbreak in the city of Jos Plateau state, as warned by a leading expert. With the scene now on questionable practices, the government is on a mission to prevent a potential health crisis that could have devastating consequences for both humans and animals alike.
The News: A statement released by Gurumyen Yilzem, a veterinary researcher with the National veterinary research institute (NVRI) Vom and a lecturer with the faculty of Veterinary Medicine University Jos, reveals that with the current confirmation of the Anthrax disease in Nigeria, there could be a possible outbreak in Plateau state, as a result of animal slaughter in illegal slaps in the state.
Why it matters: Recall that Nigeria, through the permanent secretary of the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development Ernest Unakhihe, on Monday, July 17, 2023, reported its first case of Anthrax outbreak in Niger state, following earlier reports of an anthrax outbreak in some West African Countries.
Know More: Anthrax disease is caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. It occurs naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world, It can also affect humans who come into direct contact with infected animals or animals that died from the disease, or from contaminated animal products such as meat, wool, or hides and skin. Animal species affected by the disease Anthrax are largely cattle, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, horses, and wildlife.
Affected animals are usually found dead without any signs of illness. Dark unclotted blood flows from body openings of the affected animal’s nose, ear, mouth, and anal region and the carcass body of the animal becomes bloated and does not become stiff without rigor mortis after death.
In addition, signs in human beings may begin to manifest between 1-8 weeks after exposure to the anthrax spores with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and body weakness. Later chest discomfort and difficulty in breathing may result with the severity depending on the form of anthrax.
What now: The faculty of veterinary medicine, at University Jos, on Monday 24th July, organized a public awareness on the anthrax disease, this is to alert members of the University Community and the general public to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
Hence, the government is advised to urgently set up an advisory team to look into this emergency on the Plateau and also to reach out to butchers, animal sellers, herders, and all relevant stakeholders in the food value chain especially, in the Jos abattoir market, to ensure good hygiene and proper sampling of animals butchered for public consumption.