“Don’t eat Ponmo for now” – FG raises alarm on outbreak of deadly virus

Nigerians have been made aware of the anthrax epidemic in a few nearby nations in the West African sub-region by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Following the development, the ministry strongly suggested that Nigerians abstain from eating bush meat, smoked meat, and hides (ponmo) since they pose major risks until the issue is brought under control.

According to a statement released on Monday and signed by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhihe, the epidemic was initially discovered in northern Ghana, bordering Burkina Faso and Togo, putting the entire sub-region at risk.

“The disease which has 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.”

Anthrax a zoonotic disease is transferred from animal to man and its spores are naturally found in the soil and commonly affect domestic and wild animals.

Umakhihe said “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development hereby alerts the general public on the outbreak of Anthrax in some neighboring countries within the West African Sub-Region; specifically, Northern Ghana bordering Burkina Faso and Togo.

“The disease which has claimed some lives is a primary bacterial disease that affects both animals and man, because of man’s closeness to animals.

“Non-vaccinated animals with Anthrax can easily be transmitted to man through the inhalation of Anthrax spores or the consumption of contaminated animal products, such as hides and skin (pomo), meat or milk.

To this effect, the general public is strongly advised to desist from the consumption of hides (pomo), smoked meat, and bush meat as they pose a serious risk until the situation is brought under control.”

The Permanent Secretary highlighted that Anthrax has Flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, and muscle aches and if not diagnosed and treated early, will lead to pneumonia, severe lung problems, difficulty in breathing, shock, and death

He also noted that infected animals cannot be vaccinated but animals at risk can be vaccinated.

“So in this present case, there is a need to intensify animal vaccinations along the border States of Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos states because of their proximity to Burkina Faso, Togo, and Ghana. Other states of Nigeria are equally advised to join in the exercise,” he added.

Also, he said infected dead animals should be buried deep into the soil along with equipment used in the burial after applying Chemicals that will kill the Anthrax spores.

Meanwhile, Umakhihe urged the Public to remain calm and vigilant as the Federal Government (FG) has resuscitated a standing committee on the control of Anthrax in the Ministry.


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