Protecting Your Health: Urgent Warning Against Consuming ‘Ponmo’ and Bushmeat due to Anthrax Outbreak
In light of a recent outbreak of Anthrax in neighboring countries, Nigerians are being strongly advised to refrain from consuming certain food items such as hides (ponmo), smoked meat, and bushmeat. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued this cautionary measure to protect public health. Anthrax, a bacterial disease that affects both animals and humans, is currently wreaking havoc in Northern Ghana, which shares borders with Burkina Faso and Togo. This blog post aims to shed light on the severity of the situation, the potential risks involved, and the steps being taken to address this outbreak.
Anthrax is caused by the transmission of the Anthrax spores from infected animals to humans. These spores occur naturally in the soil and commonly affect both domestic and wild animals. While people can become infected by coming into contact with contaminated animals or their products, it’s important to note that Anthrax is not a contagious disease. Nevertheless, its symptoms resemble those of the flu, including cough, fever, and muscle aches. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can progress to pneumonia, severe lung problems, difficulty in breathing, and even result in death.
Call to Action and Government Response:
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development urgently calls upon the general public to avoid consuming hides (ponmo), smoked meat, and bushmeat as these products pose serious health risks until the Anthrax outbreak is under control. To address this issue, the Federal Government has reestablished a Standing Committee on the Control of Anthrax within the Ministry. Additionally, relevant institutions and collaborators have been engaged to collaborate on controlling the outbreak. State directors of veterinary services nationwide are being sensitized about the situation.
Anthrax primarily affects animals, but due to human proximity to animals, non-vaccinated animals can easily transmit the disease to humans. Inhalation of Anthrax spores or consumption of contaminated animal products, such as hides, skin, meat, or milk, can lead to infection. Vaccination of at-risk animals is crucial to prevent the spread of the disease. Border states such as Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos, which are in close proximity to Burkina Faso, Togo, and Ghana, are especially urged to intensify animal vaccinations. Other states across Nigeria are also encouraged to participate in this vaccination campaign.
Safe Disposal and Prevention Measures:
In the case of infected animals, it is essential to bury them deeply in the soil, along with the equipment used in the burial. Prior to burial, applying chemicals that can kill the Anthrax spores is necessary. The National Veterinary Research Institute in Vom, Plateau State, offers annual vaccinations with Anthrax spore vaccines, which are the most affordable and effective means of preventing and controlling the disease in animals.
The outbreak of Anthrax in neighboring countries has raised concerns about public health in Nigeria. To minimize the risks associated with the disease, it is vital for Nigerians to refrain from consuming hides (ponmo), smoked meat, and bushmeat until the situation is brought under control. The government is actively working to tackle the outbreak and has called for intensified animal vaccinations, particularly in border states. By implementing preventive measures and raising awareness, we can collectively protect ourselves, our animals, and our communities from the dangers posed by Anthrax.