The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria has issued a public warning regarding an outbreak of Anthrax in neighboring West African countries. Consequently, Nigerians are strongly advised to abstain from consuming hides (ponmo), smoked meat, and bush meat until the situation is brought under control.
The outbreak initially surfaced near the northern border of Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Togo, posing a significant risk to the entire sub-region. Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, revealed that this bacterial disease, which affects both animals and humans, has already claimed numerous lives.
Dr. Umakhihe explained that Anthrax spores are naturally present in the soil and commonly affect domestic and wild animals. People can contract Anthrax by coming into contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
The symptoms of Anthrax resemble those of the flu, such as cough, fever, and muscle aches, which can progress to severe respiratory problems, breathing difficulties, shock, and potentially death if not promptly detected and treated.
While Anthrax is not contagious and cannot be transmitted through close contact with an infected person, humans can contract it through inhaling Anthrax spores or consuming infected animal products.
The ministry further cautioned the public to avoid contact with animals that have not been vaccinated against Anthrax and to refrain from consuming contaminated or infected animal products, including hides, meat, or milk.