Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar
In the wake of the current outbreak of monkey pox infectious disease in some part of Europe and the Americas, the federal government yesterday announced that it had commenced intense surveillance at all entry point to forestall possible outbreak in Nigeria.
The minister of agriculture and rural development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, who briefed journalists in Abuja on the development, said laboratory equipment had also been distributed to 11 veterinary teaching hospitals as part of proactive measures to contain the spread in the event of an outbreak.
Abubakar, however, noted that Nigeria was yet to officially detect any case of the diseases, adding that the ministry was working with immigration and customs services to keep close eyes on visitors and wildlife from the countries of outbreak through airports and across all land borders.
On the level of preparedness, the minister noted that the federal government was ready and had the laboratory capacity to take samples, detect, analyse and treat suspected cases as the case may be.
But Abubakar insisted that Nigerians must practice basic hygiene and avoid direct contact with sick animals.
He said, “In view of the current outbreaks in Europe and the Americas, the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development is working assiduously in collaboration with relevant sectors and stakeholders to intensify surveillance in the animal population and at the point of entry for wildlife as well as creating awareness among hunting communities and the general public on prevention of the disease.
“If left unchecked would likely affect the population of our farmers and significantly would lead to low agricultural production and productivity”.
“The general public is hereby advised to avoid contact with animals that could harbour the virus including animals that are sick or found dead where monkey pox occurs; avoid contact with any material such as bedding that has been in contact with a sick animal; practice good hand hygiene such as the washing of hands and the use of alcohol-based sanitizers after contact with infected animals or humans.
In Nigeria, officially we have not detected any but since we are bordering Cameroon and other countries, Ghana where it’s detected, you don’t know when somebody would cross as our borders are porous, so we’re keeping track that’s why we’re looking everywhere.
The ministry would like to assure the general public and the international community of her resolve to continue to collaborate with relevant sectors and stakeholders to promptly contain the disease in the event of an outbreak in the country,” the minister added.