By Shuaib Sadiq
Kaduna – The Kaduna State Government on Monday urged stakeholders in livestock value chain to be on red alert,following a reported outbreak of a deadly disease, Charcoal Anthrax in neighbouring Niger Republic.
A government statement issued by Hajiya Halima Lawal, the State Commissioner for Agriculture in Kaduna,0 urged livestock owners, farmers, butchers, dealers, transporters and veterinarians to be at alert to symptoms of the disease among livestock.
Lawal said in the statement she personally signed: “Recent reports from the Republic of Niger as confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health have alerted the world to a recent outbreak of Charcoal Anthrax in the Tillabery region of that country.
“Charcoal Anthrax is a deadly bacterial disease that affects animals and humans and can be fatal. The bacteria can survive in the soil for many years and animals are infected when they graze in affected areas.
“The disease is characterised by sudden deaths in a livestock population with the carcass bloating and oozing blood that does not clot through the body openings.
“The carcass does not stiffen following death. In some cases, the disease manifests as a scratch that can spread throughout the body.
“The animal later shows difficulty in breathing. On slaughter, the blood of affected animals turns black immediately after let-down and hence the name charcoal anthrax,” she explained.
According to Lawal, government is conscious of the fact that though Kaduna State did not share borders with Niger Republic.
“But because of the fact that we are in the migratory season where there is usually mass movement of livestock from the Sahel region of North Africa into Nigeria, the likelihood of the disease being introduced into Kaduna State is high.
“The Kaduna State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture has therefore placed on alert the disease Rapid Response Team.
“And mandated it to intensify disease surveillance to detect and respond to this public health emergency should it arise. Veterinary clinicians/Para-vets awareness and stakeholders’ sensitisation will begin immediately across the state.
“We therefore call on the general public to avoid opening any dead carcass and especially those engaged in the livestock value chain activities to be vigilant and report any suspected case of the disease to the nearest Veterinary clinic located in each local government area of the state.
“Or call the following dedicated telephone lines: 0805-944-9613, 0810-168-4809, 0806-563-1419, 0809-326-8767, 0803-210-2639 and 0810-806-7235,” the commissioner said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Charcoal Anthrax is an infectious zoonotic disease of livestock manifesting either on the skin, as a scratch progressing into a sepsis or as a pulmonary infection contracted by inhalation of the causative micro-organisms.
The disease occurs directly or indirectly through contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products respectively, in human beings, hence the need to take precautionary measures.