The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development today raised an alarm over the unusual high mortality in two poultry farms and live bird markets in Kano and Lagos States expressing fears over a possible outbreak of Avian influenza, known informally as Avian flu or bird flu, Punch reports.
According to the ministry, the samples forwarded to the National Veterinary Research Institute tested positive for H5 strain of bird flu, adding that confirmatory samples were sent to the International Reference Laboratory in Padova, Italy, for further clarification.
The ministry disclosed that it had taken some measures in the affected sites to contain the reported outbreaks.
The ministry further said it had quarantined the infected premises and placed restriction of movement of poultry and poultry products into and out of areas around infected premises.
“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.” The statement said.
It added that it had ensured immediate reactivation of all animal health component 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 was being undertaken.
it 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.”
It will be recalled that last year, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) allayed public fear about bird flu in eggs.