Bauchi govt warns against bird flu

Bauchi—The Bauchi State Government has warned Nigerians, especially poultry farmers over the possible outbreak of a new Avian Influenza virus, otherwise known as H7N9 virus.

The Desk Office Information Officer, Alhaji Yakubu Ahmed who spoke in an interview with newsmen, yesterday, in Bauchi, the state capital, said that Avian flu which broke out first in China in 2006, had already led to the untimely death of six people in same China as well as led to the hospitalisation of 60 others and could affect Nigerians, especially poultry farmers.

Ahmed however, advised farmers to improve on their ‘’bio-security as a way of minimising the effect of the virus.’’

According to him,  the new virus which would have devastating effects on most Nigerian poultry farmers any time it reached the country.

Avian flu which started in China was known as Influenza Virus H5N1.

During the period, farmers in China incurred huge losses just as over 10 million of their Nigerian counterparts lost their poultry farms, apart from job losses.

Ahmed said, ‘’no fewer than 10 million poultry farmers across Nigeria lost their poultry farms and poultry products in 2006 to the influenza which also claimed some human lives in some states. The new virus known as H7N9, has killed six persons and about 60 others have been hospitalized in China. Medical doctors in China are of the view that the new virus is from birds.

‘’The virus is found in pigeons and we want to warn poultry farmers including free range farmers,(backyard poultry farmers) to improve on their Bio-security measures and ensure adequate hygiene to avoid any sudden out-break of the deadly disease in which human lives are most times involved.”

Meanwhile, the Avian Influenza Desk Office has said that it planned to undertake  intensive enlightenment tour of the 20 local government areas in the state from the end of the month when, migratory birds from Europe and Asia are expected in the country.

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