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Friday, January 23, 2015

Agric minister announces bird flu outbreak in 7 states

The Minister for Agriculture and Rural
Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina,
yesterday announced that avian
influenza, also known as bird flu, has hit
the nation's agriculture sector with
thousands of dead birds recorded
already
.
Adesina, however, clarified that the
development has not got to crisis level
and that his ministry was doing its best
to control it effectively.
While addressing the media on the
situation, he indicated that the outbreak
has "not hit epidemic level, and there is
no cause for alarm because although we
know that bird flu can be transmitted to
human beings, we have not had such
problem."
On the crisis level, the minister said:
"We are not in a state of any epidemic.
Seven states so far have reported cases
of the bird flu. They include Kano, Lagos,
Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Plateau
states. To date, 21 commercial farms,
nine live bird markets and private zoos
have been affected in the seven states."
He explained that as at yesterday, a
total of 140,390 birds had been infected
by bird flu, with 22,573 or 16 per cent
mortality recorded.
According to the minister, Kano is the
most affected of the states where the
index case was found.
"In that state, 103,445 cases have been
reported as exposed to the influenza,
and 15,963 of them dead. The areas of
the state involved are Gwale, Kumbotso,
Tofa, Ungogo and Gaya local government
areas."
He stated that in the affected states,
there had been quick and various levels
of interventions, including depopulation,
decontamination and quarantine
currently ongoing.
He assured that: "Our ministry is
spearheading a rapid response system in
close collaboration with the state gov­
ernments' ministries of agriculture.
"At the moment, we have been able to
contain the disease in Kano and Lagos
states by the joint teams of the federal
and states staff in these areas, the
reported cases in Rivers and Delta states
are being monitored."
He also told Nigerians not to shy away
from eating poultry products, as there
are no infections in them.
"Nigeria has the largest domestic poultry
production in Africa with South Africa as
second largest. So, the reason I made it
a duty to address Nigerians on this is
because if there is any effect on the
sector through boycott informed by fear
and the lack of information, that would
not be a good development for the
economy and agriculture.
"I want to clarify that the spread of avian
influenza is essentially through contact
between the birds and people that
attend to them. Immediately the meat is
cooked, the infection dies.
"So, let Nigerians feel free to eat chicken
and eggs because there is no bird flu
that is transmitted through such source,
especially when Nigerians are known for
cooking their meat very well before
serving."
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