Nigerians have been warned to desist from bushmeat consumption in order to avoid contacting the deadly Monkey pox virus.
This warning came from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Globally 257 people have contacted the virus including 21 persons in Nigeria.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, gave the warning in a statement saying the Ministry is giving the advice on measures to prevent and contain spread of the virus as citizens also have their part to play by adhering to hygiene practices.
He said: “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD) through the Department of Veterinary & 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.
“In view of the above, the FMARD is hereby giving the following advice: 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.”
Abubakar stated further that, “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.
“We must also ensure regular handwashing using strong disinfectant anytime we handle NHP and rodents in our various locations.
“We must also discourage the act of consumption, trade and keeping of NHP as well as rodents as pets in our homes.” While urging Nigerians to report suspected cases, he said, “The general public are hereby advised to report any pox-like lesions seen on humans or animals to the nearest human or veterinary clinics respectively.
Abubakar also advised veterinarians to step up surveillance activities. “Lastly, 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.”