Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has commenced mass vaccination exercise against the deadly Anthrax disease which was confirmed in one of the states that is contiguous to the FCT.
The acting secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Abubakar Sadeeq, who flagged off the Mass Anthrax Vaccination Exercise at the FCT Grazing Reserve in Patkon Kore, Gwagwalada area council, said that the action is a reflection of the FCTA proactiveness and readiness to combat the disease which does not only affect animals, but humans as well, with very high fatality rate.
Sadeeq said the administration has since the announcement of the outbreak in Ghana earlier this year, carried out series of outreach campaigns to sensitise residents particularly livestock owners and butchers about the Anthrax disease; to avail them with the knowledge of signs and symptoms as well as effective measures they can adopt to protect themselves and their animals from contracting and spreading the disease.
“Furthermore, as a demonstration of its commitment to preventing an outbreak and ensuring public health safety, I am glad to inform you that the Permanent Secretary FCT, Mr. Olusade Adesola has given approval for the purchase of large quantities of Anthrax vaccines which scientists have identified as most effective in preventing the disease.
“The Secretariat has in the same vein been directed to take the vaccination exercise to all the six area councils of the FCT and to ensure that our Veterinary Doctors who have already been mobilised will reach the 62 wards in the FCT.
“I want to therefore use this opportunity to appeal for the co- operation of livestock owners particularly those who own cows, goats, horses and other animals that have been classified as potential carriers with our Veterinary health workers, to ensure the success of the vaccination exercise. I also call on them not to sell or slaughter any animal suspected to have any of the symptoms but report such cases to any of the FCT Veterinary Clinics.
“As the saying goes ‘prevention is better than cure.’ So, we urge us all to take this exercise seriously. While our veterinary personnel have been put on alert in order to attend to any emergency cases, we will be working closely with the Health and Human Services Secretariat to attend to human cases involving livestock owners,” he said.
Earlier, the director of Veterinary Services of the FCTA Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Dr Regina Adulugba appealed to cattle owners not to slaughter sick animals for now. “Anthrax is a recent disease and the outbreak was recorded on July 14, in Suleja, Niger State. And the best means of protection is vaccinating the animals. All our staff are ready to go round all the Area Councils. The disease is deadly because it can affect animals and humans. And it is very dangerous because once you have a wound or any opening in your body, it can infect you.
“It can spread through the air, that is why we are advising herders to allow an animal that is sick to die and not to be consumed. Because the animal is already infected it will infect everyone that consumes or has contact with the meat,” she said.
Also, the chairman of Abuja chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association Nigeria, Yahaya Isah, who doubles as the deputy national secretary of the association, said they were highly impressed with the action taken by the FCTA.