Bird flu spreads to more states in Nigeria

The H5N1 influenza virus, also known as bird flu, has spread to four more states in Nigeria, bringing the number of affected states to 11.

The virus in now in Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau and Rivers States.

At an emergency meeting with state agricultural commissioners in the nation’s capital, Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of agricultural and rural development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said the virus had spread to four more states, increasing the number to 11 states.
“At the time of my briefing the nation on January 21, 2015, seven states had reported cases of the bird flu. As of yesterday, a total of 11 states have reported positive cases,” Dr Adesina said.
The government planned to compensate farmers with 145 million Naira (about $763,150), or about 1,450 Naira (about $7.63) per lost bird, within the next three days.

The emergency measures to contain the virus include intensified surveillance, depopulation, quarantine and decontamination of the infected farms and live birds markets.

In Ogun State, south-west Nigeria, the resurgence of bird flu in three markets and a farm at Odogbolu Local Government Area of the state have been confirmed.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ronke Sokefun, gave the disclosure during a press conference held at the ministry’s conference room, Oke Mosan in Abeokuta, the state capital.

While denying any human infection, she, however, noted that the state government was currently processing some suspicious samples from other farms in the state

In Edo State, one of the states in south-south Nigeria, where the flu had spread to, the government said it had stepped up surveillance within and at all entry points into the state in a bid to contain the outbreak of bird flu.

The state commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, Abdul Oroh urged members of the public to be alert and report any case of sick or dead birds to the government for immediate action.

Nigeria was the first country on the African continent to detect bird flu, in 2006 when chicken farms were found to have the H5N1 strain. In 2007, Nigeria recorded its first human death from the disease.

The latest bird flu outbreak was first reported in mid-January in the states of Kano and Lagos. The worst-hit state is Kano in the north where 136,905 birds were exposed with a 13 per cent mortality rate.

Credit: Channels