Monkey-Pox Latest: FG Raises the Alarm over Spillover of Pathogen

…Urges hunters, bush-meat sellers to desist from practice

By Hillary Asemota

The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Tuesday called on hunters and dealers of “bushmeat” to desist from such practice forthwith.

The measures became imperative according to the Ministry to prevent any possibility of spillover of the pathogen in the country.

The Minister in charge of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, while confirming the prevalent of the Monkeypox pathogen in the country in a statement, he appended his signature, said:

“Following the recent confirmation of Monkey Pox (MP) resurgence in Nigeria on the 29th of May, 2022 involving 21 persons by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), where it was said to have led to the death of one person with co-morbidity.

“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) through the Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services is actively collaborating with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other stakeholders in the One-Health Team to ensure the situation is contained and brought under control.”

 According to him, the Ministry is therefore advising Nigeria to take the underlisted precautionary measures:

“People must avoid contact with persons suspected to be infected with Monkey-Pox at home and at work places.

“Hunters and dealers of “Bushmeat” must desist from the practice forthwith to prevent any possibility of “SPILLOVER” of the pathogen in Nigeria.

“Transport of wild animals and their products within and across the borders should be suspended/restricted

“Silos, stores and other agricultural storage facilities must institute active rodent control measures to prevent contacts and possible contamination of Monkey Pox Virus with foodstuff.

“All operators of Zoos, Parks, Conservation and Recreational centers keeping non-human primates in their domains must ensure strict compliance with their biosecurity protocols aimed at preventing their contacts with humans.

“All Veterinary Clinics, Veterinary Teaching Hospitals and other Veterinary Health Institutions across the country must ensure vigilance so as to be able to pick possible signs and symptoms of Monkey-Pox in non-human primate (NHP) patients.”

Abubakar, urged Nigerians to also ensure regular handwashing using strong disinfectant anytime they handle NHP and rodents, discourage the act of consumption, trade and keeping of NHP as well as rodents as pets in our homes.

He called on the public to report any pox-like lesions seen on humans or animals to the nearest human or veterinary clinics respectively.

“Veterinary epidemiology officers, field surveillance agents and veterinarians should step up their surveillance activities aimed at picking any possible case of Monkey Pox in animals.” The Minister said.

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