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    ANTHRAX: FUOYE CMD, Olawale embarks on awareness strategy

    …says disease curable

    Ukaegbu Chris

    Nigeria has recorded it’s index case of anthrax, a zoonetic bacterial disease.
    The confirmation came via a recent news report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) where quoted the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Monday, July 17, 2023.

    In a statement signed by the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Columba Vakuru, it was reported that some animals were “showing signs of a possible case of Anthrax on a farm in Suleja, Niger State” This report got to their office on 14 July.

    Since then the internet and other news media have been awash with this ugly development with its attendant uncertainties and anxieties.

    FUOYE Esquire, in the discharge of its statutory mandate to inform and educate, sought out the Medical Director, of FUOYE Medical Centre, Dr. Musbau Olarewaju Olawale, to throw more light on this menace and what the University’s preparedness to tackle the disease, if and when it surfaces, were.

    Speaking with FUOYE Esquire which included Arise Olaiya and Nifesinmi Ogungbe, the CMD defined Anthrax as an infectious disease which is also known as a zoonetic disease, – primarily a disease for animals not humans.

    He disclosed that it is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, stating that man can only contact it through infected animals.

    High-risk groups were identified as rural dwellers and animal handlers.

    He warned that when an animal is infected that such infected animal has a high propensity to infect its handlers and or those who come in contact with it.

    Therefore once anybody comes closer to an infected animal or person or inhales what the victim breathes out – spores from the victim – such a person becomes infected. This method he identified as the root cause of Anthrax.

    Symptoms of Anthrax.
    What are the symptoms to watch out for?

    Dr. Olawale observed that an infected person would present with ulcers/wounds on the skin.

    Such infected person would also have a feeling of sickness with an inclination to vomit.

    Also, he could present with diarrhoea, coughing and a difficulty in breathing.

    Education was identified as a major panacea for avoiding or arresting the spread of Anthrax.

    Educating people, especially animal handlers that the disease is here remains a major step in this direction.

    A corollary to the above is creating awareness and publicizing information about the symptoms and mode of infection.

    Another major approach as identified by Dr.Olawale is the need to encourage people who suspect the symptoms to present to the Medical Centre.

    This is very important because Anthrax is curable especially when presented early for treatment.

    Farmers and Farmhands should also ensure that our farms are always very clean.

    Added to above, animal handlers must as a matter of routine appear with their protective gear while interacting with animals.

    Identified protective gears include a facemask, hand gloves, boots, etc.

    He charged medical personnel especially those at our Ikole Campus Clinic to have the highest level of suspicions for every patient that presents especially anyone or all of the identified symptoms going forward.

    This is so beacuse the University Research farm is located in Ikole Campus.

    He suggested that all animals in the University Farm must be screened as a precaution and any suspected animal isolated for observation.

    The good news, however, is that there is no identified case of Anthrax in FUOYE and even in the entire Ekiti State.

    He, however, expressed the readiness of the University Medical Centre against any eventuality.

    He has a word of caution for patrons of wild animals popularly called bushmeat. He said they should distance themselves from such delicacies for now or be a little circumspect while preparing such for food.

    He opined that fire kills the virus. So, when bushmeat is properly roasted or cooked it kills the virus.

    Hunters also should be educated on the proper way to handle their games to prevent infecting themselves and their family members.

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