|PROF MARTIN AYIM : PREVENTION IS BETTER|
As residents of some parts of the North West Region continue to battle to prevent their goats from dieing, an endowed professor of Health Education and promotion has warned against the eating of the carcasses.(Dead goats, animals ).
While also inviting government to take quick action and arrest the situation, the Professor at Grambling State University, Louisiana, USA, Martin Ayim, in this interview gives some of the causes of what he terms zoonotic diseases hitting Nkambe, Ndop and other areas.
The professor who also runs an NGO did not rule out the possibility, though exceptionally, of transmission of the disease from animals to humans…
Read on for full interview....
Prof Ayim, we have witnessed for almost a month now the death of animals especially goats in the NW region of Cameroon. What could be the possible cause(s)?
|MINORITY HEALTH PROMOTION,MHPI, STAFF, B'DA|
We are talking here about a Zoonotic epidemic. These are diseases occurring among vertebrate animals and transmissible among the animals and sometimes to humans.
An epidemic is the occurrence of a disease in a population clearly in excess of normal expectancy. It is an outbreak. This means, one case of an eradicated disease like Small Pox, is an epidemic and should be treated as such.
An epidemic occurring in animal population is called epizootic (zoonotic epidemic) like what we have now in the North West Region of Cameroon. Examples of Zoonoses are rabies, Bovine Spongiosum Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow’s Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jacobs Disease (vCJD), the human counterpart of BSE.
|MHPI GM, MRS AKAH, ON HAND WASHING DAY 2015|
BSE for example is caused by a Prion virus that attacks the nervous system of the animal. Animal becomes apprehensive, loses coordination progressively, is sometimes aggressive, and eventually dies. BSE usually occurs in epidemic magnitude.
Remember the UK scenario where more than 34 herds of cattle were reported. Basically the cause is a virus in animals and eating the carcasses of infected animals.
Does this disease attack only animals? Is there a possibility of transmission to humans?
Like I said earlier zoonosis occur in animals and sometimes, not all, can be spread to humans. There is however very remote chance of animal to human transmission. BSE is transmitted through animal feed, especially if the feed is prepared with carcasses and neural tissues of infected animals. Transmission to other species is possible.
Is consuming the goat meat during this period risky, even if well prepared?
|DO NOT EAT THESE CARCASSES|
Yes, prevention is better than cure. Consuming goat meat during this period is risky. Carcasses should be buried immediately. They should not be eaten no matter how well prepared.
How best can the populations prevent maybe the spread of the zoonotic disease among animals and to humans?
Prevention will depend on the exact zoonosis. However, immediate preventive actions by individuals and the population entail:
a) proper burial or disposal of infected animal carcasses;
b) not eating carcasses, control of animal movement (transportation) from an infected area to other areas;
c) containment of animals in infected areas until situation is under control,
d) report cases to the local health authority;,
e) epidemiological investigation by authorities to answer the questions what, where, who, when, how and why?; and
|MHPI SEC, NGUFO IN SANTA|
f) intensive community health education and health promotion outreach (local Media Radio/Tv, newspapers)
What should the ministries concerned do given that you talk of immediate action?
Action during any outbreak should be swift and immediate to prevent massive spread to other areas. First an epidemiological investigation should be conducted to answer the questions and know the exact problem and root cause. There is a challenge here because trees and animals are involved. The population should be assured to be calm and cautious.
The Ministry of Health should provide an expert or epidemiologist to lead a team of investigators comprising of experts from stakeholder ministries. Swift collaboration and partnering between the Ministries and NGOs,
is recommended under the auspices of the Ministry of Health because though animals and trees are involved, it is a public health problem. The Ministry of Health will alert the Center for Disease Control, CDC and the World Health Organization, WHO, in line with reporting process of communicable diseases and outbreaks.
|MHPI STAFF TEACHING COMMUNITY HEALTH|
I wish the affected areas and the Northwest Region well. My heart goes to the communities. Once the exact cause is determined, the General Manager of Minority Health Promotion Initiative, Inc,
an NGO in community health education and health promotion outreach, Mrs Akah Beatrice and Strategic Project Initiator and Collaborator, Dr. Fritz Dinka, will engage in meaningful health action that would provide support to the communities.
*Prof Martin Ayim “Ta Nformi” (a traditional title in NW Cameroon) is an Endowed Professor of Health Education and Health Promotion at Grambling State University, Louisiana, USA. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Doctor of Public Health/Master of Public Health Program at St Monica University, Buea, Cameroon. Born in Ngwenjin Village, Widikum Northwest Region, Cameroon, Prof Martin Ayim studied at Indiana University Bloomington Indiana and Texas A & M University, College Station Texas and is Executive Director of Minority Health Promotion Initiative Inc. an NGO based in Bamenda, Cameroon. Visit the webpage www.minorityhealthpromotion.com for more information. Author house Publishing Company and Presbook Cameroon have published his book entitled “Communicable Diseases for School and Community Health Promotion.”The French version of the book which touches on communicable diseases and 132 more others, is expected to be made public this year.