376,695 birds killed as Bird Flu resurges in Nigeria, spreads to 7 states

The Federal Government on Wednesday met with top officials of the Poultry Farmers’ Association of Nigeria as part of efforts to stop the spread of bird flu, which had spread to seven states.

The Director-General of PAN, Onallo Akpa, disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents as state governments also began moves to stop the spread of the virus.

For example, the Kano State Government said it had killed 223,695 birds, while the Niger State Government stated that the disease had killed 53,000 birds.

In Plateau State, the virus has killed 100,00 birds and in Gombe State, no fewer than 14,800 birds have contracted the disease.

Recall that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had on Tuesday said Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kaduna and the Niger states had reported confirmed cases of Avian Influenza H5N1 also called bird flu.

Commenting on the development, the Director-General of PAN, Akpa, said bio-security measures had been put in place by poultry farmers to prevent the spread of the disease beyond the seven states.

He stated,  “We had a meeting today (Wednesday) in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and all the claims that there are human infections have so far not been verified to the best of our knowledge and to the best of the knowledge of the ministry.”

Akpa said claims of human infections had not been verified by recognised laboratories and dismissed such claims.

He said, “This is because whatever suspicion that is being reported has to be verified by the main laboratory in Atlanta in the United States and to the best of our knowledge that has not been done.”

Kano depopulates 223,695 birds

In Kano, no fewer than 223, 695 birds have been depopulated following the outbreak of the deadly avian Influenza in the state.

According to www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health, depopulation is when large numbers of animals are destroyed in response to an animal health emergency

The Director of the Kano State Veterinary Services in the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Bala Bello, said 223, 695 birds had been depopulated following the outbreak of the deadly avian influenza in the state.

He disclosed the figure in an interview with The PUNCH in Kano on Wednesday.

He said the birds were depopulated so as to prevent other birds from contracting the deadly disease.

Bello said a total of 42 poultry farms had so far been affected by the outbreak while no fewer than 40 samples were sent to the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom in Jos Plateau State for testing.

He said as part of efforts,  the ministry had commenced the disinfection of all the major live birds markets in the state in addition to disinfecting the affected farms to check the spread of the disease.

“We are currently disinfecting all the eight major live birds markets in the eight Kano metropolitan local government areas of the state,” the director said.

According to him, the department has also carried out sensitisation among the various stakeholders to educate them on how detect any live bird infected with the disease.

He said the department had also convened first and second stakeholders meetings with live birds and feeds sellers.

“The meetings were held as parts of renewed effort to sensitise them on the need to take preventive measures to check the spread of the virus.

He, however noted that lack of border control was one of the biggest challenge of the ministry as live birds were being imported from different parts of the country especially the neighboring states where they had the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the Association of Poultry Farmers in the state said its members had lost over N500m  as a result of the outbreak of the disease.

The Chairman, Umar  Usman, who disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH, said if urgent steps were not taken to check the spread of the disease, many of their members would lose their investments and be sent out of the business.

“Each live bird costs not less than  N1,800. So, if you multiply the amount by the total number of birds that have been depopulated, it will give you over N500m.

“So, we are not even talking about the birds that died after infecting the disease,” he added.

Niger lost over N65m to bird flu

The Niger State Government said over 53,000 birds had been lost to the deadly outbreak

The Director of poultry in the state Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries,  Bello Nma,  said only five farms were affected in the state,  but over N65m had so far been lost to the disease.

Nma advised poultry farmers to be vigilant and report any incident of sudden high mortality of birds to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.

Bird flu kills 100,000 birds in Plateau

At least 100,000 birds have been killed by the flu in Plateau State.

The Chief Veterinary Officer in the state Dr Sipak Shaseet,  in an interview with The PUNCH in Jos on Wednesday, said the disease had killed 100,000 birds.

According to him, 21 farms have been affected in the state,  adding that all the affected farms were in the Jos North and the Jos South local government areas of the state.

Shaseet said,  “When the bird flu outbreak occurred in the state more than a month ago, only six farms were affected, but it later spread to about 21 farms in two local government areas of the state including Jos North and Jos South. So far, we have about 100,000 birds that have died as a result of the Avian Influenza outbreak in the state”

The Director of Veterinary Services, Gombe State Ministry of Agriculture, Molta Idris, told The PUNCH  the ministry had commenced a campaign towards stopping the spread of the virus.

Idris explained that about 14,800 birds had been affected, blaming it on indiscriminate transportation of birds from affected areas.

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