Anthrax Outbreak Strikes Northern Ghana, Prompting Urgent Measures

In a concerning development, northern Ghana is currently grappling with an outbreak of anthrax caused by the spore-forming bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Permanent Secretary, Ernest Umakhihe, has confirmed that the disease has already claimed lives in the region bordering Burkina Faso and Togo. Anthrax primarily affects animals like cows, sheep, and goats but can be transmitted to humans, making it a zoonotic disease.

Humans can contract anthrax by handling or slaughtering infected animals or coming into contact with contaminated animal products. While the disease doesn’t spread through person-to-person contact, it can lead to symptoms like coughing, fever, muscle aches, and severe lung complications, including pneumonia, shock, and even death.

Recognizing the severity of the situation, the Permanent Secretary has stressed the urgent need to ramp up animal vaccinations in the states surrounding the affected countries. These states include Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos.

To contain the outbreak, it is advised that infected deceased animals be deeply buried in the ground after undergoing chemical treatment. Additionally, the public has been cautioned against consuming hides, smoked meat, or bush meat until the situation is brought under control.

In response to the outbreak, the federal government has reinstated a standing committee dedicated to anthrax control within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Collaborations with relevant institutions and partners are underway to aid in controlling the spread of the disease. State directors of veterinary services across the nation have also been sensitized to the matter.

Amidst these challenges, the public is encouraged to remain calm and vigilant while all stakeholders work together to effectively address the situation.

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