The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned Nigerians against the consumption of bushmeat to prevent the spread of the monkeypox virus.
The ministry also urged Nigerians to stop keeping rodents as pets in their homes.
The health ministry stated this in a statement it issued on Wednesday made available to PUNCH HealthWise.
According to the statement signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, the health ministry is concerned about the outbreak of monkeypox in the country, adding that the ministry is taking steps to contain its spread.
Abubakar said the ministry of agriculture was collaborating with other relevant agencies to make sure the situation is contained and brought under control.
The statement said, “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Department of Veterinary & Pest Control Services is actively collaborating with the 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 in workplaces.
“Hunters and dealers of “Bushmeat” 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.”
The statement also said, “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 contact with humans.
“All Veterinary Clinics, Veterinary Teaching Hospitals, and other Veterinary Health Institutions across the country must ensure vigilance 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.”
Abubakar further urges Nigerians to ensure they report any suspected cases of the virus.
He said, “The general public is 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.”