Fake News Alert!!! Poisoned Cow Message Is False!

A recent whatsapp message being broadcasted in groups and sent to individuals claim that there are currently 80,000 cows from the north with the virus of Cow Pox.

This message may have been making rounds due to the current agitations regarding cattle grazing reserves in Nigeria.

But this news turns out to be FALSE.

Cow pox is an infectious disease caused by the cowpox virus. The virus is
zoonotic, meaning that it is transferable between species, such as from animals to humans. The transferral of the disease was first observed in dairymaids who touched the udders of infected cows and consequently developed the signature pustules on their hands.

Cowpox is more commonly found in animals other than bovines, such as rodents. Cowpox is similar to, but much milder than the highly contagious and often deadly smallpox disease.

When the Nation and Dubawa conducted a check on this message, we found a similar message which first surfaced online on October 17, 2017 on a Facebook page.

A further google reverse image search revealed that even the picture attached to the 2019 claim making rounds actually relates to a small pox vaccine blister that first appeared online in August 10, 2011. It is not even a picture of cowpox!

Contacts were made to the various groups where this viral message seemed to have emanated from but no one seem to know where its origin, saying that they “were just spreading the news as received it in order to educate those who did not know”.

[Emails were sent to the Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Agriculture through their official email addresses regarding the issue but as at the time of sending this message, no reply has been received. This post will be updated if new information from official authorities arise.]

What’s more: It’s highly unlikely that Boko Haram was able to carry out this poisoning. Boko Haram, a deadly Islamic sect operating in North East Nigeria, Cameroon and some neighbouring countries, uses bombings, shooting, destruction of properties and kidnapping to wreck havoc as is well known. Saying the sect could have poisoned 80,000 cows with the virus would mean that Boko Haram may have added bioterrorism to its method.

However, truth is this message is nothing but a hoax. The message being sent across on Whatsapp and facebook platforms is not based on any message from competent authorities and any endorsed information is usually circulated in traditional media platforms, which wasn’t the case with this message.

Plus, a nutritionist in the Niger state Ministry of Health, Hajia Amina Asmau said that cooking meat in high temperature can kill bacteria and virus except for some that have been said to withstand high temperature which she said cow pox does not belong to.

High temperature can kill bacterias and virus but there are some bacterial that can withstand high temperature but a micro-biologist can classify these bacterias. But I can tell you that cooking to the right temperature can kill any virus or bacteria in meat.”


The Claim that there are 80,000 poisoned cows from the north with the virus of cow pox  is FALSE. It is meant to create fear and panic amongst Nigerians!

This fact-check was done by a Dubawa Fact-checking Fellow in collaboration with The Nation, the second-most-read newspaper in Nigeria according to a 2011 report by The Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria. To see this article and others, check out:

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