The Federal Government has confirmed the first case of Anthrax in Nigeria after
disclosing on Monday that the disease was detected in a farm in Niger State.
Making this known in a statement on Monday, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development said that it “is deeply concerned to announce the
confirmation of an anthrax case in Niger State, Nigeria.”
It added that “On 14th of July, 2023 the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer of
Nigeria was notified of animals manifesting symptoms of a suspected case of
anthrax in a farm in Suleja, Niger State.
“The case was in a multi-specie animal farm comprising of cattle, sheep and
goats located at Gajiri, along Abuja-Kaduna expressway Suleja LGA Niger State,
where some of the animals had symptoms including oozing of blood from their
body openings – anus, nose, eyes and ears.
“A Rapid Response team comprising of federal and state One Health Professional
Team visited the farm to conduct preliminary investigations and collected
samples from the sick animals.
“Subsequent laboratory tests by the National Veterinary Research Institute
laboratory confirmed the diagnosis, marking the first recorded case of anthrax in
Nigeria in recent years and after the report of an outbreak of anthrax in
Northern Ghana a few weeks ago.”
According to the statement, all animals affected have died.
The Ministry had a few weeks ago communicated the risk of incursion of Anthrax
into the country, following confirmed outbreaks in Ghana and other countries in
Anthrax is a major zoonotic disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium
Bacillus anthracis, which primarily affects animals such as cattle, sheep, and
goats but can also infect humans, who come into direct contact with infected
animals or consume contaminated animal products.
The disease can also be transmitted through contaminated pasture, feed and
The clinical signs of Anthrax in animals include sudden death and blood oozing
from natural body openings (nose, ear, mouth and anal region).
The spores of anthrax can persist for decades in a contaminated environment.
The Federal Government said it has through the Ministry and in collaboration
with the Niger state government, taken proactive measures to timely control
and contain the disease.
Such measures include Quarantine of the affected farm; deployment of 50,000
doses of anthrax vaccines for ring vaccination of susceptible animals’ species
around the infected farm; educating the farm workers using a One-health
approach on the symptoms, preventive measures and what to do when they
notice any sign of the disease.
Other measures include the finalization of the plan for state-wide vaccination of
susceptible animals against anthrax and the intensification of passive
surveillance activities in livestock farms, markets and abattoirs and others are
heightening targeted public awareness campaigns on anthrax.
Also, the Ministry urged all livestock owners to remain vigilant and promptly
report any suspicion of illness or deaths on their farms; avoid contact with sick
or dead animals and their products and avoid slaughtering sick animals as
slaughtering of sick animals can expose people to anthrax spores.
Livestock owners are also advised to avoid contact with wild animals and
products such as ‘bush’ meat, report any incidence of the sudden death of
animals to the nearest veterinary authorities, use personal protective equipment
(gloves, facemasks, goggles, boots) when handling sick animals or dead
animals, practice suitable biosecurity measures and dispose of all cases of
animals in an environmentally friendly manner and in consultation with
veterinarians, environmental and public health officers.