THE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have raised alarm over the outbreak of avian influenza otherwise known as bird flu in some poultries in Kano and Lagos states.
According to the ministry, the disease was discovered following the unusual high mortality reported in two poultry farms and live bird markets in Kano and Lagos states.
A statement signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina disclosed that samples taken from the birds were forwarded to National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom Plateau State, where it tested positive for H5 Strain of Avian Influenza Virus.
The minister said the confirmatory samples have been sent to the International Reference Laboratory in Padova, Italy, for further characterisation.
Addressing a press conference on the development yesterday, the Lagos State Government said about 2,000 infected birds had already been killed in a poultry farm in Badore area of the state
The government said that the birds were killed during intensive surveillance, which has been mounted in all major poultry farms in the state to prevent spread of the deadly disease.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Cooperative, Gbolahan Lawal, did not disclose the name of the poultry farm for security reasons but said the entire farm had been quarantined.
According to Lawal, samples collected from a poultry farm in Badore were also confirmed positive while a Zoological park based in Victoria Garden City presently experiencing high mortality of wild birds in captivity is on the suspicion list and is being investigated.
He added that in order to contain the spread of the infection, the government has embarked on active Diseases Search by surveillance agents, Biosecurity Monitoring and Sensitisation in poultry farms and markets, disinfection of poultry markets and decontamination of affected farms and sensitisation of poultry farmers and traders on insurance policy issues.
“To complement the above activities, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is collaborating with the State Ministry of Health, the Lagos State branch of the Poultry Association of Nigeria, National Agriculture Insurance Corporation (NAIC) and Lagos State Fowl Sellers Association.
“A team of eight technical staff, comprising of representatives of the Federal Livestock Department, National Quarantine Service and the National Veterinary Research Institute is currently in the state on disease assessment and surveillance,” he said.
The commissioner disclosed that the emergency active disease search carried out in the last 48 hours indicated no spread of the disease, adding that in order to contain the spread, the active disease search is ongoing in farms and poultry markets.
“Sensitisation of poultry farmers and fowl sellers is being vigorously embarked on by the Surveillance and Extension Agents deployed by the ministry to cover the entire state. Disinfection of all live bird markets in the state is already ongoing.
“All poultry farmers and fowl sellers are hereby enjoined to adhere strictly to biosecurity measures and report unusual incidence of high mortalities of birds. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Health have deployed surveillance agents to the various parts of the state,” Lawal said.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, however, allayed fears over the infection, saying there was no cause for alarm and advised Lagosians to embrace basic hygiene to prevent contracting or spread of the disease.
Idris said people should endeavour to cook their meats properly before eating and report cases of mortality in birds in any area to the government.
Avian influenza is an infectious viral disease of birds. Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans. However some, such as A (H5N1) and A (H7N9), have caused serious infections in people.
Written by Wole Oyebode, Gbenga Akinfenwa (Lagos) and Joke Falaju (Abuja)
Share this news with friends!!!