Expert stresses importance of cattle deworming to TB control in humans

AS incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) continues unabated in Nigeria, a veterinarian, Dr Ezekiel Adesokan has stressed the need for regular deworming of cattle to ensure TB in cattle are better detected and could be prevented from passage to humans through the consumption of meat and other dairy products.

Dr Adesokan, a veterinary public health expert at the University of Ibadan, stated that Tuberculosis is endemic in cattle in Nigeria and it is a public health issue that can only be controlled with its proper diagnosis in cattle.

Adesokan said studies had found that worm infestation is also endemic in cattle in Nigeria and limiting the detection of Bovine TB in cattle.

According to him, “the endemicity of the worm infection in cattle in Nigeria is reported now to actually limit the detection of Bovine TB in cattle. In an animal that has been screened for TB and purposely regarded free from TB when slaughtered, you still find nodes of TB in the liver, lungs and so on.”

Adesokan said that routine deworming of cattle is of serious public health importance to ensure as much as possible that cattle infected with TB before slaughter are detected and as such prevent the spread of the infection to the meat consumer.

The don said all meat is supposed to be inspected to the control sale of infected meat, but most abattoirs in Nigeria lack enough staff to cover the number of animals being slaughtered.

He added: “Some animals slaughtered also escape being inspected by the veterinary meat inspector. The butchers, because they are not compensated for whatsoever organ of the animal that is condemned, tend to hide such infected carcass from meat inspectors. This is sold to the populace.”

Dr Adesokan said the general public is not aware of TB infected meat or how to recognise it.

According to him, “we all know what normal beef looks like. So once you see anything like nodule within the meat or when cutting it gives a gritty sound, it shows that particular meat is carrying the nodes for TB. Such meat should not be consumed.”

He said even if such meat is cooked and then fried, it should not be consumed.

According to him, “the mycobacterium organism that causes TB actually has thick capsule which you may not really be able to ascertain that the cooking has completely destroyed. So, prevention is always better than cure.”

He declared: “Once you consume TB-infected meat, you could harbour latent TB, which then becomes active TB once your immunity is lowered.”

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