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Anthrax: NBMA cautions govt., confirms first case in Nigeria



The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has urged Nigerians to exercise caution following a reported case of anthrax on a farm in Suleja, Niger close to the Federal capital Territory.

The Director-General of NBMA, Dr Agnes Asagbra made the call in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Asagbra said that there have been reports of animals exhibiting symptoms of a potential case of anthrax at Gajiri along the Abuja-Kaduna motorway in Suleja LGA, of Niger.

“Some of the animals showed symptoms including blood flowing from their body openings, including their noses, eyes, ears and mouths.

“The case happened on a multi-species farm with cattle, sheep and goats on the said farm,” she said.


Asagbra said that the Federal Government sent a response team to visit the farm and took samples for testing of which the result has been confirmed to be positive, making it the first recorded case of anthrax in Nigeria in recent years.

The DG urged the general public to avoid direct contact with sick or dead animals especially those exhibiting symptoms associated with anthrax.

She further urged farmers, herders and individuals involved in animal husbandry to take extra care and seek veterinary assistance if they suspect any sign of illness in their livestock.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NBMA had on June 13, issued a warning to Nigerians about Anthrax, a potentially fatal disease that can be contracted from infected animals or through contaminated products.

This was after receiving report of an anthrax outbreak in Northern Ghana where all infected animals had died.


Asagbra warned that Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium which mainly affects livestock particularly cattle, sheep and goats.

She said that humans can become infected through contact with an infected animal or by inhaling spores.

“The sickness, is a zoonotic disease caused by germs that may spread from animals to humans.

“If anthrax is not identified and treated promptly, it can cause pneumonia, serious lung issues, breathing difficulties, shock, and death.

“Symptoms of anthrax include flu-like symptoms like coughing, fever and muscular aches,” Asagbra said.


Asagbra implored all stakeholders in the food and agricultural industry to prioritise safety measures and adhere to biosafety regulations in order to safeguard the health of our citizens.


Diphtheria: Children at risk as 7,202 cases are confirmed in Nigeria



A staggering 7,202 cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be fatal without treatment, were confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The outbreak has been particularly severe among children under 14, with three-quarters of cases (73.6%) in this age group.

Most cases have been recorded in Kano state, Nigeria’s second most populous state. In the past three months, there have been 453 deaths from diphtheria in Nigeria.

Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, but low vaccination rates in Nigeria have made the outbreak possible. Only 42% of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

Diphtheria symptoms begin with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that can block the airway, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. The toxin can also spread to other body parts, causing heart kidney problems and nerve damage.


Save the Children is launching a wide-scale health response in the three most impacted states of Kano, Yobe, and Katsina. The organization is deploying expert health and supply chain staff to help overstretched clinics detect and treat diphtheria cases and to support mass vaccination campaigns.

However, Save the Children warns that a mass vaccination campaign will only be successful if the vaccine shortage is urgently addressed.

Severe shortages in Nigeria of the required vaccine and the antitoxin needed to treat the disease mean that the situation could continue to escalate, placing many children at risk of severe illness and death.

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WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

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