Bird Flu Spreads to 11 States

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Akinwumi Adesina

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The federal government spike measures to check the spread of bird flu which is now afflicting poultry farms in 11 states in the country

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Feb. 9, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE outbreak of Avian Influenza, AI, popularly called bird flu, in Nigeria has continued to spread to five more states in the country bring the total number of affected states to 11.  Akinwumi Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development, at a meeting with commissioners of agriculture from the 36 states of the federation, on Wednesday, January 28, listed the additional states as Oyo, Jigawa, Gombe and Imo. The government on January 21, confirmed the presence of the virus in seven states which include Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Plateau.

The total number of birds exposed had risen to 232,385 and 51,444 mortalities had been recorded. Kano had the highest exposure rate of birds with the disease. The number of birds exposed in the state stood at 136,905 with 17,987 mortality level, while Lagos State had 38,845 birds exposed with 4,732 mortality level.

Adesina said that affected 39 farmers would be compensated with N145.14 million in the 11 affected states where de-population of the birds had been carried out by the federal government. According to him, the compensation is to ensure that farmers do not lose their businesses as a result of the devastation by the virus. “We will do everything to ensure that we protect our poultry industry from this particular situation. So, I want to announce here that effective from today, the compensation of a total amount of N145.145 million will be paid to 39 affected farmers across the 11 states. In all this, the entire N145.145 million will be paid out to the farmers and we have the list of all the farms. We have actually collected all the information and this amount will cover the farms where we have done de-population.

New cases of Avian Influenza (a.k.a. Bird flu), has been announced in Nigeria
New cases of Avian Influenza (a.k.a. Bird flu), has been announced in Nigeria

“In all these farms, we have done a de-population of 100,100 birds in which there had been a total exposure of 144,589 birds. So we have the farms that have been de-populated. I say 100,100 birds and some of these farms even before we started our de-population had some mortality of about 44,489. This is a very decisive measure that we are taking to make sure that those affected farms do not go under,” he said.

The government has created a centralised information system through which all information from the states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, are coordinated and reported to the federal department of veterinary service on a daily basis. The minister directed state directors of veterinary service to provide daily report to the federal director of veterinary service, as the situation unfolds in their states.

“In the modern age that we are in today, we must be able to quickly diagnose and predict the probability of any influenza, so we would work to establish a regional diagnostic centre that can predict based on the migration of birds, infection and the progression of the disease especially during dry season, when outbreak of avian influenza is usually recorded.”

The World Health Organisation, WHO, had warned that outbreaks of AI in poultry may raise global public health concerns due to their effect on poultry populations, their potential to cause serious disease in people, and their pandemic potential. Reports of highly pathogenic AI epidemics in poultry, such as A(H5N1), can seriously impact local and global economies and international trade. The body said majority of human cases of A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) infection have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry as there is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly cooked food.

The WHO said controlling the disease in animals is the first step in decreasing risks to humans. AI viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these AI viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or sub-clinical infections in humans and other mammals.

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