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03.06.2005 General News

MOFA on top of controlling anthrax - Deputy Minister

By GNA

Accra, June 3, GNA - The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) on Friday said its workers were on the ground to counter any anthrax outbreak.

"We are on top of the issue and we want to assure the public that there is no cause for alarm so long as anthrax is concerned," Mrs Anna Nyamekye, Deputy Minister in-charge of Livestock, told Journalists at a press conference in Accra.

The press conference was in reaction to a statement made by Mr Mark Anthony Awuni, MP for Binduri, on the outbreak of anthrax in Kaadi in the Binduri Constituency.

Mr Awuni said the outbreak, which started about two years ago, had so far claimed more than 15 lives and scores of goats, sheep and cattle. He said the Kaadi area had been declared an anthrax prone zone and the Ministry had been notified but strangely it had not handled the matter with the seriousness that it deserved.

He also accused the Veterinary Service of stopping the vaccination exercise because the farmers could not pay for the drugs.

Mrs Nyamekye denied that the outbreak claimed more than 15 lives saying, only a cattle owner died after eating the meat of an infected cow in Sakpati Natinga community in the Upper East Region. There was also one death at Kuuchileyiri in the Upper West Region. She confirmed there were outbreaks at Soe in the Upper East, Sunyani in Brong Ahafo and Tuunayilli in the Northern Region but the MOFA team moved quickly to vaccinate all animals and controlled their movements.

She said some of the people in these areas developed malignant carbuncles and were treated while other villagers were treated with Ministry of Health antibiotics capsules.

"I want to assure the people of Ghana that our Ministry, together with staff of the Ghana Health Service, has taken the necessary steps to bring the disease under control."

Mrs Nyamekye advised the public to desist from eating carcases of animals whose death could not be ascertained.

Dr Mensah Agyen-Frempong, Director of Veterinary Services, said anthrax could only be detected when the animal died and an examination was conducted on it revealed the disease or someone died as a result of eating the carcases.

He, therefore, advised the public to buy meat from the right sources and also urged District Assemblies to provide the necessary facilities to avert the situation.

Mr Livingstone Dzokoto, Director in-charge of Finance and Administration at MOFA, advised the public to be careful when buying khebab because no one knew the origin of the meat used.

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