FCTA Intensifies Surveillance against Anthrax across Borders

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has increased  surveillance across its borders to mitigate the spread of anthrax.

The action followed the index case of anthrax that was recently reported last month in some regions in Ghana.

The Director of Veterinary at the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Dr. Regina Adulugba, told reporters yesterday that although no single case had been recorded in the country, the FCTA was tightening surveillance across border control posts to prevent an outbreak.

She said in compliance with a directive by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to all states, the administration intends to sensitise herders, butchers and other stakeholders given they are mostly at risk of contracting the disease.

“The fear is importing infected animals from neighbouring countries.” 

“There is every risk that it could come here so to be on the safe side, we have begun a sensitisation programme already. We did one in Deidei abattoir where we gathered the butchers and meat handlers, because they are the people mostly at risk. People who trade in animals, people who butcher animals, those who handle them, veterinary doctors, personnel that have anything to do with animals. We gathered them to let them know, to put them on alert that there’s an outbreak in not too far away countries and our borders are not too tight so they should look out and be careful,”  Adulugba said.

She appealed to residents and butchers to avoid buying, selling sick animals or slaughtering them and to also report symptoms to veterinary clinics and centres close to them.

“If they see any symptom of high fever, sudden death, bleeding from the nose, the mouth, the ear, they must report such, because this is typical with anthrax carcass. Blood doesn’t clot so if they see such things they should quickly report to the veterinary department and we can take proper measures,” she said.

The FCTA added that during the sensitisation campaign at Deidei and Karu abattoir, it informed butchers about the risks and dangers of anthrax which can be transmitted through a wound in the hand or by coming in contact with an infected animal or eating anything with anthrax.

The disease can also be transmitted by air when the spores are inhaled.

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