By Philip Yatai
The Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Monday, began a four-week mass vaccination of cattle to curb the spread of Anthrax in the FCT.
The acting Secretary of the secretariat, Alhaji Ishaq Sadeeq, inaugurated the exercise in Paikon Kore Grazing Reserve, Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja.
According to him, the mass vaccination exercise is targeting at least one million cattle across the six Area Councils of the FCT.
Sadeeq explained that the move became necessary following the confirmation of the disease in Suleja, Niger, one of the neighbouring states of the federal capital.
He thanked the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, for approving the purchase of one million doses of the vaccine, which scientists have identified as the most effective way of preventing the disease.
He said that the vaccination exercise, which would last four weeks, would be carried out simultaneously across the 62 wards of the six Area Councils of the FCT.
He explained that the exercise was part of the FCT Administration’s proactiveness and readiness to combat the disease.
“The FCT Administration had since the announcement of the outbreak in Ghana earlier this year, carried out a series of outreach campaigns to sensitise residents, particularly livestock owners and butchers, about Anthrax disease.
“The sensitisation was 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,” he said.
He appealed for the co-operation of livestock owners with the veterinary health workers, to ensure the success of the exercise.
He equally advised livestock owners against selling or slaughtering any animal with visible symptoms of the disease, and report suspected cases to any of the FCT Veterinary Clinics.
“While our veterinary personnel have been put on alert 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 added.
The Director of Veterinary Services, FCT, Dr Regina Adulugba, described Anthrax as a “fatal disease” to both animal and humans, which can be contracted through open wounds, airborne and from consuming infected animals.
Adulugba said, “the best protection against the disease is vaccinating the animals and that is what we are here to do.
“It is deadly because it is zoonotic. Zoonotic means it can affect human and it can affect animals. So, it is dangerous, and it spreads by too many means.
“If you have a wounded skin, it can affect the wound and then infect the person, or it can spread even through the air, or it can spread from consumption of meat.
“That is why we advised them not to slaughter any sick animal for now. If an animal is sick, they should allow it to die and then we see if it is positive.
“It is safer for them as cattle owners, their children and their families, because it can affect human and it is very deadly in human as it is deadly in animals.”
On his part, Malam Yahaya Isa, Chairman, Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), FCT Chapter, commended the FCTA for the proactive step.
Isa, who is also the Deputy National Secretary of the association, said that the move would not only protect livestock against the disease, but also save investment and human lives.
He commended the FCTA for being the first to take such a proactive step in the country to prevent further spread of the disease.
“The entire Fulani herders’ community are happy and are fully prepared to comply with arrangement.
“Our people are ready to cooperate with the officials everywhere. We have even mobilised in each area council, some group of youths to back them up wherever they are going,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi