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Monkeypox: Nigerian government directs ‘bushmeat’ sellers to stop business

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THE Nigerian government has directed all ‘bushmeat’ sellers to suspend their business following reported cases and a fatality arising from the monkeypox outbreak in the country.

The measure, the government said, was to help contain the viral disease.

In a statement he signed on Tuesday, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, also banned transborder transportation of bushmeat in the country.

Bushmeat in Nigeria means all animals not reared at home but hunted and killed in the bush for human consumption.


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On Monday, the ICIR reported how the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced the death of a 40-year-old after contracting monkeypox.

The death was from 21 cases confirmed by the NCDC Sunday night.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), monkeypox is a zoonosis: a disease transmitted from animals to humans. Cases are often found close to tropical rainforests where animals carry the virus. Evidence of monkeypox virus infection has been found in animals, including squirrels, Gambian poached rats, dormice, different species of monkeys and others.

Symptoms of monkeypox include sudden fever, headache, body pain, weakness, sore throat, enlargement of glands (lymph nodes) in the neck and under the jaw, followed by the appearance of a rash (often solid or fluid-filled at the onset) on the face, palms, soles of the feet, genitals and other parts of the body.

In his statement, the Minister of Agriculture said banning the bushmeat business was one of the immediate measures to contain monkeypox.

He said his ministry worked with the NCDC and other stakeholders to ensure the virus did not spread.

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He urged people in the country to avoid contact with persons suspected to have the virus.

The minister called on veterinary clinics, veterinary teaching hospitals, and other veterinary health institutions to be vigilant in picking possible signs and symptoms of monkeypox in non-human primate (NHP) patients.

He also advised silos, stores, and other agricultural storage facilities to institute active rodent control measures to prevent contact and possible contamination of monkeypox virus with foodstuff.

Besides, he appealed to operators of zoos, parks, conservation, and recreational centres keeping non-human primates to ensure strict compliance with their biosecurity protocols to prevent their contact with humans.

Abubakar said, “We must also ensure regular handwashing using strong disinfectant anytime we handle NHP and rodents in our various locations.

“We must also discourage the act of consumption, trade and keeping of NHP and rodents as pets in our homes.

“The general public is advised to report any pox-like lesions seen on humans or animals to the nearest human or veterinary clinics.”

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