The Federal Government has suspended the importation of wild animals and warned hunters and sellers of bush meat to relax operation. The move is part of measures to curtail the spread of monkeypox in the country. The government also cautioned operators of zoos, parks, conservation and recreational centres keeping non-human primates to adhere strictly to biosecurity protocols aimed at preventing contacts with humans.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, in a statement on Tuesday, directed veterinary epidemiology officers, field surveillance agents and to step up surveillance activities aimed at picking any possible case of Monkey Pox in animals.
He added that the Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services now partners with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other stakeholders in the One Health Team to bring the situation under control.
“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 & 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 bush meat 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.
“We must also ensure regular hand washing 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. “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.
“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,” the Minister said.