Gbolahan Lawal

Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal has urged livestock owners, farmers, butchers, livestock sellers and veterinarians in the State to be alert to any signs of Charcoal Anthrax in their livestock.

Lawal, who disclosed this on Wednesday when he met with members of the Sheep and Goats Farmers Association in Lagos State to sensitize them on the reported outbreak of Charcoal Anthrax in sheep and cattle in the Republic of Niger further urged them to report any unexplained sudden deaths in livestock to the Ministry of Agriculture.

According to him, the reports would help the State Government to carry out a quick and appropriate investigation with a view to instituting all necessary control measures, adding that private veterinarian should also assist with investigation and prevention activities.

The Commissioner explained that Charcoal Anthrax is an infectious zoonotic disease of livestock manifesting either on the skin as a scratch, progressing into a sepsis or as a pulmonary infection contracted by inhalation of the causative micro-organisms.

He added that the disease occurs directly or indirectly through contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products respectively in human beings hence the need to take precautionary measures.

“It is essential that if livestock die suddenly and without an obvious cause, livestock owners and veterinarians are enjoined to immediately report any suspected case of anthrax or unexplained sudden death of livestock to the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture or the nearest veterinary office or call 08023191180 or 08023427594.” Lawal noted.

He averred that Charcoal Anthrax is well known to occur intermittently in grazing livestock and that they usually contact the disease through the swallowing and inhaling of the anthrax spores which are odourless, colourless and tasteless, stressing that the disease could also affect humans but that nearly all cases of the diseases have been seen in livestock particularly hoofed animals.

The Commissioner added that even though our environment is not endemic for the disease and that no incidence of the disease has been reported in recent times, it is more reasonable to prevent the disease from entering into our shore and indeed the Lagos State.

He, therefore, urged all the livestock farmers to take necessary precautions to prevent the incursion of the disease into the country, adding that the State Government has already constituted Rapid Response Teams that would react and respond to any case of an outbreak.