An expert in Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control in Adamawa State, Dr. Stephen John, has alerted that a variant of TB, known as Bovine or Zoonotic, which mainly affects cattle, but transmitted to humans, is becoming more prevalent in Northern Nigeria, especially Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe States.
According to the Expert, several research papers have confirmed the high prevalence of Zoonotic TB in different zones of Nigeria, but it is more prominent in the North East zone.
Adamawa State has had an estimated 4.5 million to 5 million cattle population as far back as 2012.
John, who is the Executive Secretary of Adamawa State Agency for the Control of AIDS and former Adamawa State TB Programme Manager, revealed that the best strategy of managing Zoonotic TB is through partial or total destruction of the carcass of affected animals, which are mostly cows.
As it is presently done in other countries, he advised the Government to consider the compensation of ranchers or herders whose cows are diagnosed to be affected with Zoonotic TB as a measure to control of the disease in the country.
John said: “Zoonotic TB infects humans just like the usual human TB, same way of transmission, but poor response to convenient anti-TB treatment.
“I personally have been invited by veterinarians to the Jimeta Abattoir years ago to palpate cow meat infected with TB.
“Zoonotic TB is real and on the increase the world over.
“The World Health Organization and the International Union Against TB and other lung diseases are focused on raising awareness on the devastating effects of this disease.”
John said the way out is to have constant health education on Zoonotic TB and ensure that all forms of meat are properly inspected before cooking.
He said: “Ensure that meat is inspected before purchase and consumption.
“If you see meat with bubbles and white spots, it means the beef is likely infected with TB.”
John called on people to pay attention to these prompts and eruptions, which pose serious threats to health as Zoonotic TB treatment is difficult to contain.
He said it can last for over nine months, unlike the normal TB, which treatment only lasts for six months except in special cases.
He added: “Let’s join hands to fight all forms of TB.
“It is on the rampage.”