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Nigeria: Bird Flu Spreads to Seven States – Minister

Chibuzor Emejor, Francis Onoiribhol and Daniel Abia
bird flu

P/Harcourt — Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, announced on Wednesday that the Avian Influenza recently reported in Kano and Lagos States, has now spread to five other States.

At a media parley in Abuja, Adesina said the seven states have so far reported cases of the bird flu are Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Plateau.

He said to date, 21 commercial farms, nine Live Bird Markets and one private zoo have been affected in the seven states.

“As at today January 21, 2015, a total of 140,390 birds have been associated with bird flu exposures, with 22,573 (16%) mortality recorded.

“The most affected state has been Kano State, where the initial case of the bird flu was found.

“A total of 103,445 birds have reportedly been exposed to the infection in Kano State, with 15,963 (15%) mortality reported. These cases were found in Gwale, Kumbotso, Tofa, Gaya and Ungogo local governments,” he stated.

Adesina said the total number of birds under close watch in Lagos State is 31,195 and 3,347 (11%) mortality has been reported. The three confirmed cases were from Somolu and Eti Osa local governments.

“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 minister also said Sagamu in Ogun State, has reported two locations with one positive case (Ifo) and another negative case (Sabo). Of the 1,030 birds currently under watch in the two locations, 163 (15%) have experienced mortality, he said.

“Other states with positive cases reported are Rivers, Delta, Edo and Plateau with figures ranging between 200 and 1,550 mortalities.”

He said in all these states, different levels of interventions, including depopulation, decontamination and quarantine have been introduced, adding that his ministry was spearheading a rapid response system in close collaboration with the state governments’ ministries of agriculture.

He stated that at the moment that the Avian Influenza has been contained in Kano and Lagos states through the joint teams of Federal and states’ staff in the areas.

He noted that although Bird Flu is a disease primarily of poultry, it also has the ability to affect humans if not properly handled within poultry populations.

Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Abdul Oroh, had on Wednesday announced the outbreak of bird flu in the state.

The Commissioner in a statement said the state has recorded a confirmed case of the disease in one of the farms in the state capital.

He said the necessary steps of quarantine and decontamination had been instituted and as such, members of the public need not panic as Edo state government was taking necessary steps through the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to curtail the spread to other farms.

The commissioner advised members of the public not to buy any dead/sick birds from any source and urged farmers to watch out for any high mortality (death rate) in their farms and should promptly report to Veterinary Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Benin City or call GSM Nos. 07031577961, 08094925697, 08065703324 for immediate response from the State Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Collins Aibaogun.

Dr. Aibaogun, when contacted on phone also confirmed that no fewer than 420 birds died in a poultry farms in Benin City between January 10 and 14, 2015.

Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chinda, who also confirmed the outbreak to journalists, in Port Harcourt, disclosed that the privately owned poultry farm where the virus manifested in the state had been quarantined and decontaminated.

He said hundreds of birds in a private poultry farm in Port Harcourt, were destroyed after a laboratory test outside the state confirmed positive symptoms of bird flu.

Chinda assured the citizenry that there was no record of any human infection.

“There is no need for people to panic because the state government has taken appropriate measures to contain its spread,” he stated.

“We advise that members of the public who want to eat animals and eggs should thoroughly boil them before they are eaten,” he advised..

Meanwhile, Adesina has assured that the Federal Government would contain the outbreak of bird flu in the country successfully.

Adesina gave the assurance in Abuja on Wednesday when he addressed a news conference.

The minister said he had directed a nationwide comprehensive surveillance, quarantine, depopulation and decontamination of all affected poultry farms and areas.

He said the ministry was working closely with state governments, the Poultry Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association and the Animal Science Association of Nigeria to contain the spread.

Adesina said all veterinary members of staff of the ministry had been deployed across the country to bring the situation under control, saying that the country was not in a state of bird flu epidemic.

He said the Federal Government, in collaboration with the Government of Canada, had supported the Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Plateau State, to acquire BSC Level 3 facility for biosecurity.

He said the facility allows experts to do rapid diagnosis of diseases without travelling out of the country as was the case.

He said it was the first of its kind in West and Central Africa, adding that Nigeria was becoming the regional centre for excellence in that regard.

He said development partners such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had been duly informed about the outbreak.

According to him, 140,390 birds had been associated with bird flu exposure, adding that 22,573 mortality had been recorded since the outbreak on January 8.

“I wish to assure all Nigerians that Nigeria will successfully control the bird flu outbreak.

“We have successfully controlled it in the past and have activated all necessary protocols and measures to ensure successful control this time,” he said.

Adesina said that the biotype of the disease had been confirmed, saying that it was due to H5N1 virus.

According to the minister, research had shown that human infection with H5N1 virus, although possible remains a rare event.

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