In light of the recent outbreak of Anthrax in some West African countries including Northern Ghana bordering Burkina Faso and Togo, the Federal Government has issued a warning to all Nigerians to desist from consuming hides (ponmo), smoked meat and bush meat.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhihe, made this known in a statement issued on June 12, 2023, in Abuja.
“The affected countries are Northern Ghana bordering Burkina Faso and Togo,” said Umakhihe, adding that, “The disease which had claimed some lives, is a bacterial disease that affects both animals and man, that is a zoonotic disease. Anthrax spores are naturally found in the soil and commonly affect domestic and wild animals.”
According to Umakhihe, the Anthrax disease is deadly and pose serious hazard to humans, therefore, Nigerians should avoid the consumption of those products that may have been contaminated with the disease. Hides, commonly known as ponmo, should be avoided for now because it is dangerous.
The disease, which has claimed some lives, is a bacterial disease that affects both animals and man, that is a zoonotic disease.”
While the Nigerian health authorities are on alert, there have been no reports about an outbreak of the disease in the country.
“People can get infected with Anthrax spores if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products,” Umakhihe shared, adding that, “However, Anthrax is not a contagious disease and so, one cannot get it by coming in close contact with an infected person.”
The Federal Government’s warning targeted not just Nigerians but the general public at large. The statement further warned everyone to avoid contact with non-vaccinated animals with Anthrax as it can easily be transmitted to humans through the inhalation of Anthrax spores including consumption of contaminated/Infected animal products, such as hides and skin, meat, or milk.
Anthrax is deadly and can lead to complications such as difficulty in breathing, shock, and death if not diagnosed and treated early. The Federal government advise Nigerians to avoid the consumption of smoked meat, bush meat, and other animal products until the situation has been brought under control.