Bird flu hits Lagos, Kano

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Thursday announced that there had been unusual high mortality in two poultry farms and live bird markets in Kano and Lagos states.

The ministry said the bird’s blood samples forwarded to the National Veterinary Research Institute tested positive for H5 Strain of Avian Influenza virus, otherwise known as bird flu, adding that another confirmatory samples were sent to the International Reference Laboratory in Padova, Italy for further characterisation.

Avian influenza, known informally as Avian flu or bird flu, refers to influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds. Influenza, commonly known as ‘flu’ is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus.

The ministry, in a statement, noted that it had taken some measures in the affected sites to contain the reported outbreaks.

FMARD said it had quarantined the infected premises and placed restriction of movement on poultry and poultry products into and out of areas around infected premises.

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.”

It added that it had ensured immediate reactivation of all animal health components of the Emergency Preparedness Plan on bird flu for Nigeria, adding that the conduct of surveillance activities around infected areas to determine the level of spread of the disease were being undertaken.

FMARD said, “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.” – Punch.

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