ABUJA – The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) on Tuesday warned Nigerians against eating unidentified bush meat and fallen fruits plucked by animals, as a preventive measure against Ebola Virus.
The Co-ordinating Director of the service, Dr Faseyitan Kola, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, that the warning was part of NAQS’ awareness campaign aimed at preventing the spread of the virus across the country.
“When you talk of Ebola virus disease, animals are involved, the primates: Apes, Gorilla, Monkeys and fruits Bats, because they are reservoir homes.
“They inhabit the virus without being affected; the only time they are involved is when you have close contact with these animals.
“When you talk of close contact you talk of even when they are being processed as delicacy, bush meat that people buy on the road.
“We are trying to discourage people from eating bush meat except you can prove the origin; even mere displaying it and it’s touched by someone that has that disease, it’s already infected,“ he said.
On the organisation’s measures to curb the spread from animals especially across Nigeria’s borders, Kola said all quarantine offices had been put on alert. [eap_ad_1] “Immediately we learnt about the Ebola virus we sent alert to all our workers so that we try to get them alerted on what should be done when such things are seen.
“We know that monkeys, primates pass along our borders; so, we sent the message to four zonal offices and 39 field offices along the borders.
“And we informed them that they should be careful and well-protected with Personal Protective Covering from direct contact with those animals.
“As a human being when you have such disease you have contact with the animals, the animal now transmits to another animal and the thing continues to spread.
“Therefore, we alerted interstate movement not to allow these animals to pass from one state to another; we call it Control Post,“ Kola stated.
Echoing the same views, Mr Chris Onukwuba, Head of Department, Collaboration, Partnership and Planning in the organisation, warned against consuming fruits that might have dropped from trees because “such fruits may be contaminated by animal which had plucked them from the trees“.
“For Ebola, if a bat eats fruits, it transmits some of the virus into the fruits and if you pick such fruits and eat you will be infected.
“So, we have to advocate against picking fruits that drop from the tree that is a way to curtail the spread.
“In an endemic area where there are bats, you just have to leave fruits that drop off the trees for now,“ Onukwuba said.
The Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service is a regulatory agency, whose main objective is to prevent the introduction, establishment and spread of exotic pests and diseases of all agricultural products in the international trade.
The organisation provides an effective science-based regulatory service through consistent enforcement of sanitary and phytosanitary measures for promoting a secured and sustainable agricultural and economic development. (NAN)