Bird Flu Hits Seven States In Nigeria

Several cases of Bird Flu infections have been reported in poultry farms in seven states across the country, with more than 140, 000 birds exposed and 15 commercial farms and 9 live bird markets affected in five states, according to the minister of agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina.

In addition to Kano, the worst hit, and Lagos – the two states to first experience the outbreak – Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo, and Plateau states have been added to the list of states hit with H5N1 bird flu.

The minister said, however, that there was no threat of Bird Flu epidemic yet in the country and that interventions, including quarantine measures, had been employed by the government to stop possible spread.

“We are not in a state of any epidemic. Seven states have so far reported cases of the bird flu – Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Plateau States. The most affected state has been Kano, where the initial case of the bird flu was found. In all of these states, different levels of interventions, including depopulation, decontamination and quarantine are currently on-going,” Adesina stated.

According to the  minister, around 100, 000 birds have been reportedly exposed to the infection in Kano State, with 15,963 (15 per cent) mortality reported, while 31,195 and 3,347 (11%) mortality has been reported in Lagos State.

“All the farms have been quarantined and decontaminated. Other locations in Ikorodu, Ojo and Lagos Mainland have already been quarantined, while awaiting confirmation,” he said.

The ministry of agriculture, however, said there is no need for people to panic and assured that necessary steps are being taken to contain the virus, adding that caution should be adopted, especially by poultry farmers and other stake holders in the industry.

In a statement issued by the ministry, it said, “All state Directors of Veterinary Services and the Federal Capital Territory, Poultry Association of Nigeria and other stakeholders have been informed and advised to be on alert with intensified bio-security measures to avert possible spread of the disease to other states.

“The World Organisation for Animal Health and Inter African Bureau for Animal Resource and development partners have been appropriately notified in compliance with our statutory international obligations.

“All stakeholders in the poultry industry are urged to enhance hygienic practices (bio-security measures) which include but not limited to regular disinfection, proper disposal of dead carcasses and poultry products and timely reporting of mortalities in poultry and other bird species to veterinary authorities.

“We wish to assure the public that given our experiences in handling previous outbreaks and with your full cooperation in the implementation of containment measures, we are determined to contain this disease again within a short time. We will keep you informed as events unfold.”

Meanwhile, Edo State commissioner for agriculture, Abdull Oroh, said people should not panic as the state has put plans in place to curtail the spread of the disease in the state.

Oroh made this known in a press statement in Benin when he announced that 420 poultry birds have reportedly died, adding that the process of quarantine and decontamination had already been initiated.

“Members of the public need not panic as Edo State Government is already taking necessary steps through the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to curtail the spread to other farms,” the statement read, advising the public to avoid buying or consuming dead or sick birds.






     

     

    Oroh further advised farmers in the state to be vigilant and report cases of high mortality in or around their farms to the veterinary department of the ministry of agriculture in the state.

    Giving details about the outbreak, the state director of veterinary services, Collins Aibogun, said the 420 birds died in a farm in Benin where the outbreak occurred and said results of test carried out at the National Veterinary Institute confirmed the presence of the virus in Benin.

    Nigeria became the first country in Africa to detect bird flu in 2006 and in 2007 it reported the first case of human death from the disease.

    The first human infection from bird flu, also referred to as H5N1, was recorded in 1997 in Hong Kong and later spread to Europe and Africa.

     

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