The outbreak of monkeypox has affected the sale of ‘bush meat’ in the country, a farmer has said.
The President of Grass Cutters Farmers Association of Nigeria, GRAFAN, Chinedu Eluwa, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Sunday that people have become cautious of what they eat, especially the source of protein that accompanies their food and this has affected the sale of the grass cutters and other ‘bush meat’ in the country.
Nigerians have been warned against eating bush meat especially since the start of the monkeypox outbreak in the country in September.
The outbreak which started in Bayelsa State and has so far spread to other states across the country and is believed to be transmitted through contact with bush meats such as monkeys, squirrels, rats, among others.
The GRAFAN President, however, said people still prefer the bush meat, whether farmed or in the wild, as it is organic and contains the necessary nutrients good for the human body.
“In the farm they (bush meats) still eat the normal vegetables and fruits consumed by human beings and the supplements given to them are still bio-products,” he said.
Mr. Eluwa said that it was unfortunate that some diseases were traced to consumption of wild animals, adding that those were rare cases.
He argued that the feeding habits of bush meats leave them with immune systems that do not allow their bodies to accommodate diseases.
He said that in addition to providing protein the human body requires, bush meat skins and bones were in high demand in furniture and pharmaceutical industries.
Since the outbreak of monkeypox, a total of nine cases has so far been confirmed from samples sent to the World Health Organization, WHO, laboratory in Dakar, Senegal.
The Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, said two cases each were confirmed in Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom States, one each in Enugu State and Abuja. Three cases had earlier been confirmed in Bayelsa.
Mr. Ehanire said investigations were ongoing to establish whether the new cases emanated from Bayelsa where the outbreak started.
Meanwhile, there are 94 suspected cases reported from 12 states including Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Rivers, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory.
However, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said on its website that it was leading a national-level emergency operations centre with support from development partners.
Monkeypox is largely a self-limiting disease, and has no vaccine or treatment. So far no death has been recorded from the disease.