Against the backdrop of the outbreak of anthrax in neighbouring countries of Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria has advised Nigerian pilgrims against consumption of hides (ponmo), smoked meat and bush meat.
The advice was contained in an internal memo to all medical team members, NAHCON staff and pilgrims.
The memo was signed by the NAHCON/Federal Minister of Health Commissioner, Dr. Saidu Ahmed Dumbulwa.
According to Dr. Dumbulwa: “The Federal Ministry of Health has just been informed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture on the outbreak of anthrax in some neighboring countries of Ghana,Burkina Faso and Togo.”
Anthrax is a zoonotic disease, a bacterial infection that primarily affects animals and man.
Anthrax pores are naturally found in the soil and commonly infect domestic and wild animals.
The Commissioner stated further: “They are non-contagious but man can get infected by coming in contact with the infected animals or contaminated animal products.
“The disease has flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever and muscle aches.
“If not diagnosed and treated early can lead to pneumonia, sever lung problems, difficulty in breathing, shock and death.”
Dr. Dumbulwa said that government was mindful and concerned that pilgrims and traders from Southwestern states bordering Togo might likely export such animal products.
“To this end, the Federal Ministry of Health is inclined to advise that intending pilgrims and pilgrims in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to desist from consumption of hides (ponmo), smoked meat and bush meat until situation is brought under control as they post serious risks to the pilgrims,” the Commissioner declared.