Bird Flu Outbreak:Ministry Lays Plan To Contain Spread, H5 Strain Implicated
THAT there is bio-security breach in the operations of some poultry farms is no longer in doubt, and again the threat of Avian influenza, also known as Bird flu, is real as poultry farms and possibly, markets in Lagos and Kano have their birds tested positive for the disease.
In a release by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), there have been reported cases of unusual high mortality in two poultry farms and live bird markets in Kano and Lagos States.
According to Dr. Adewumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, “samples forwarded to the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom tested positive for H5 Strain of Avian Influenza virus and confirmatory samples have been sent to the International Reference Laboratory in Padova, Italy for further characterisation.”
For now, the Minister has outlined measures taken and other precautionary steps to be adopted as follow:
• quarantine of infected premises and restriction of movement of poultry and poultry products into and out of areas around infected premises
• all State Directors of Veterinary Services and FCT, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) 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 (OIE) and Inter African Bureau For Animal Resource (AU-IBAR) and Development Partners have been appropriately notified in compliance with our statutory international obligations
• Immediate reactivation of all Animal Health component of the Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) on bird flu for Nigeria
• conduct of surveillance activities around infected areas to determine the level of spread of the disease
• 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.
The statement urged the cooperation of all stakeholders and the public to tackle this outbreak, which it says the Ministry has previous management experience to contain.