Lagos on red alert over bird flu outbreak

All chicken markets in Lagos State and environs have been placed on red alert even as veterinary institutions have stepped up surveillance to contain the avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak reported last week in two poultries in Lagos and Kano states.

Nigeria was the first country in Africa to report H5N1 in poultry in 2006, according to the World Health Organisation, WHO.

Disclosing this to Vanguard in a telephone interview, Chairman, Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, NVMA, Lagos State chapter, Dr Alao Mobolaji, however allayed growing fears over the incidence, saying it was safe to consume chicken and other poultry as long as it was properly handled and well cooked.
He said: “I can assure you that we have been able to contain it since it was reported. The farm that this broke out from has been quarantined and they have destroyed the chickens in that particular farm.

“Basically, all the veterinary institutions within the state have stepped up to contain the disease and when I say stepped up, I mean proper security has been set up in all chicken markets in the state as much as possible.

“Our members have been put on alert and the farmers place on advisory alert as well to prevent the spread of the disease so that it does not escalate.”
Noting that last week’s incidence in the two states was not unusual, he explained that the rate at which the disease had been emerging and re-emerging is something to talk about.
He noted: “The last time such case occurred was around 2006 and it took us a while to contain it. The alertness of Ebola has help us to quickly attend to this one too as much as possible.

“This is also expected in the state of globalisation, urbanisation which is on the rise. Increasing the proximity of animal and human being is on the rise and need to be taken serious because human and animal are sharing quarters. Stressing that chicken is safe, Mobolaji urged people not to panic, adding: “People should not panic; people should consume chicken like they consume it normally.”
Credit: Sola Ogundipe/Gabriel Olawale/Vanguard