Plateau records first two cases of anthrax in two communities

THE Plateau state government says it has recorded two suspected cases of the anthrax disease in two communities in the state.

Anthrax, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, is a severe disease that can affect both human beings and animals, including wild animals and livestock like cows, pigs, camels, sheep and goats.

A statement by the state’s Director of Press and Public Affairs, Gyang Bere, on Saturday, July 22, disclosed that the Epidemiology unit of the state Ministry of Health and the Veterinary unit of the Ministry of Agriculture had been directed to address the outbreak.

The name of the two communities were, however, not mentioned in the statement.

According to the statement, samples had been taken to the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, for thorough assessment and further investigation.

The government also debunked a story published in the social media by an unnamed national newspaper that over 1,000 cows died due to a strange disease in the Mangu local government area of the state.

The statement read, “The said story is far from the truth, as it does not reflect the reality of happenings in the communities mentioned conspicuously in the story. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no such incident in any part of Mangu Local Government Area and the government has not received information about the mass death of animals from any of the communities mentioned in the reports.

“The story is based on hearsay, and there is no credible source that has authenticated the story, which has created tension in the affected communities.

“The government, therefore, advises the general public, particularly members of the said communities, to disregard the misleading story and assured Plateau people that a team of epidemiologists has been sent to the affected communities on the instruction of Governor Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang to ascertain the truth of the story to prevent loss of lives.

“However, there are two suspected cases of anthrax disease in two communities in the state. The samples have been taken to National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, for thorough assessment and further investigation. While waiting for the outcome, Government would like to make it clear that there was no mass death of 1,000 cows in the mentioned areas as reported in the story.”

The state government, while advising members of the public to avoid contact with infected livestock and animal skins, urged residents to continue with their normal activities and report any strange signs or any unusual activities for swift intervention by the relevant authorities.

On Monday, July 17, The ICIR reported that Nigeria recorded the first suspected cases of anthrax in Niger state. 

The outbreak was recorded in a multi-specie animal farm in Gajiri, Niger state.

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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