The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has taken a proactive step to curb the spread of Anthrax disease in Lagos State by donating 50,000 doses of Anthrax vaccines to the Lagos State Government (LASG).
The donation aims to protect both animals and humans from infectious zoonotic diseases and ensure the safety of the livestock sub-sector.
During a courtesy visit to the State Ministry of Agriculture at the State Secretariat in Ikeja, Lagos, the Permanent Secretary of FMARD, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, represented by Dr. Abdulkareem Durosinlorun, the Deputy Director of Veterinary and Pests Control Services, emphasized the significance of the vaccine donation.
According to a Statement by the Assistant Director of Information, Ezeaja Ikemefuna, the vaccines will expedite the vaccination of animals against Anthrax and promote the sale of healthy meat by butchers, safeguarding the livestock sub-sector in the process.
Anthrax, caused by bacteria, can affect both domestic and wild animals and poses a risk to humans, especially those working closely with infected animals. The bacteria exist as spores and can be found in contaminated soil, wool, or hair of infected animals.
Animals can become infected by inhaling or ingesting spores from contaminated soil, plants, or water, while humans can contract the disease by inhaling spores, consuming contaminated meat, or coming into contact with the skin through wounds while handling infected animals.
Dr. Umakhihe called for robust public awareness and sensitization engagement among stakeholders in Lagos State to prevent and control the disease effectively. He emphasized the importance of surveillance in slaughter slabs, abattoirs, livestock markets, and points of entry to detect the disease early and prevent its spread.
In response, Mrs. Ibironke Emokpae, the Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, expressed gratitude to FMARD for its support in containing the spread of Anthrax disease in the state. Vaccinations have already commenced, and surveillance and biosecurity measures have been implemented at abattoir entrances to detect any ailing animals. Lagos State is taking the vaccination campaign to urban livestock farmers to protect both rural and urban areas.
During a sensitization visit to the Oko-oba cattle market and abattoir in Agege, Alhaji Abdullahi Lalega, the Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Association, pledged the commitment of cattle merchants and butchers to fight against the disease. They are fully aware of the disease and promise to adhere to safety measures while providing necessary support to curtail its spread.
Dr. Otto Muhinda, the Country Team Leader of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Nigeria, commended the State Government’s efforts in creating awareness and implementing prevention measures. He emphasized the need for further sensitization on a national level to develop a comprehensive strategy to stop the spread of the disease.
The event witnessed the vaccination of animals in the Urban Farmers Association at Surulere, Lagos state. Veterinarians from FMARD, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services, staff of NCDC, Ministry of Environment, and ECTAD-FAO, Lagos State Butchers Association, among others, attended the event to support the initiative.