The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) says the ideal method of disposing an anthrax carcass is incineration.
The Director General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said on Tuesday that where this method was not possible, deep burial was the alternative.
NAN reports that the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Monday, officially confirmed the first case of anthrax in the country.
A statement signed by the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr Columba Vakuru, said animals were showing signs of a possible case of anthrax on a farm in Suleja, Niger State.
He said that it was reported to the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria on 14 July, 2023.
According to Adetifa, livestock farmers in the disposal of anthrax-infected carcass, they should ensure that the pit is 6–8 feet, two mitre deep – the bottom of which should be well above the water table (minimum 3 feet (0.9 m).
“Considering the water table level and soil composition clay soil is preferable, whereas, sand or gravel should be avoided,” he advised.
Adetifa said that anthrax was a contagious and highly fatal zoonotic bacterial disease affecting primarily herbivores.
He said that the clinical symptoms seen in animals infected with anthrax included high fever at the start of the infection, then restlessness, convulsions, and death.
“Not infrequently, livestock die suddenly without clinical symptoms.
“Some easily spotted clinical symptoms include bleeding from the orifices, such as ears, nose, and mouth,” he said.
He said that mortality can be very high, especially in herbivores.
He said that the disease has a worldwide distribution and was a zoonosis.
“The etiological agent is the endospore-forming, Gram-positive, non-motile, rod-shaped Bacillus anthracic. And has an almost worldwide distribution.
“Once introduced into an area, anthrax is maintained in the environment by resistant spores that may remain dormant in the soil for many years.
Spores are more likely to persist in areas with ideal soil conditions alkaline, calcium-rich,” he said.
According to him, Anthrax is a re-emerging infection and consequently, endemic areas may provide additional sources of alternative strains of B. anthracic for bioterrorism placing global security at renewed risk.
He urged livestock farmers to report suspected cases of the disease at their livestock farms, cattle markets and other areas with the aforementioned symptoms of Anthtax.
He said that Nigerians should be vigilant and report any unusual happenings, such as sickness or sudden death of animals on their farms.
He advised animal owners to intensify efforts on annual vaccination of their animals and proper disposal of infected dead animals by burying them deep in the soil after applying disinfectant chemicals.
The NCDC boss advised Nigerians to refrain from consuming the meat of livestock infected with anthrax.
“This is because boiling the meat for hours will not kill the bacteria.
“Once the spore is inhaled, people usually experience death within 24 hours,” he advised.
He said that all of these infectious diseases have emphasised the importance of hand washing with soap to reduce the spread of diseases.
He said that the majority of germs that caused serious infections in humans were transmitted by people’s actions.
He said that the promotion of hand hygiene was one of the cost-effective public health interventions for the prevention and control of infections, particularly those caused by epidemic-prone pathogens.
According to him, it is important for Nigerians, particularly nurses, doctors, and healthcare technicians, who are in direct contact with people, to practise hand hygiene practices to avoid being infected by any type of disease whatsoever.
NAN reports that the World Health Organisation explains anthrax to be primarily a zoonotic disease in herbivores caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis.
The bacteria live in the soil and usually infect wild and domestic animals, such as goats, cattle and sheep.
Anthrax outbreaks are fairly common worldwide and mostly affect agricultural workers.