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Deadly bird flu found in Africa

Posted by BBC News on 2006/02/08 | Views: 1091 |

Deadly bird flu found in Africa

The deadly strain of bird flu has been found in poultry in northern Nigeria, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has said in statement.

The deadly strain of bird flu has been found in poultry in northern Nigeria, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has said in statement.

The Paris-based organisation said this was the first time the disease had been detected in Africa.

The body said it was the "highly pathogenic" strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus, which can kill humans.

It was detected on a farm in the northern state of Kaduna, where a team of experts have been sent.

More than 150,000 birds have died recently in what vets thought was Newcastle disease, a common ailment among birds in the region.

Nigeria's National Veterinary Institute said 40% of poultry farmers have been affected by the illness.

Farmers in the northern town of Kano are holding an emergency meeting to try to halt its spread.


The OIE said that an Italian laboratory for avian flu had detected the strain.

"The OIE, together with the FAO [UN Food and Agriculture Organisation], will take immediate action and co-ordinate a common response to this event," the statement said.

"A team of experts will be sent to the affected area in order to assess the situation and provide technical advice to the national authorities."

It is reported that the poultry disease that has affected two northern states has spread to the capital, Abuja.

Commercial farms have been badly affected with one in Kano losing some 60,000 chickens.

"We are really not dealing with a backyard operation," OIE expert Alex Thiermann told Associated Press news agency.

Migrating birds

There are fears that the disease could easily spread in Africa because of a lack of safeguards.

The Nigerian authorities have taken preventive measures including culling, quarantine, controls on animal movement and disinfection of infected premises, Reuters news agency reports.

More than 80 people have died of H5N1 bird flu since the disease's resurgence in December 2003.

Experts point out that cross-infection to humans is still relatively rare, and usually occurs where people have been in close contact with infected birds.

But they say if the H5N1 strain mutates so it can be passed between humans some 150m people could die.

Many scientists fear it may be carried by migrating birds to Europe and Africa but say it is hard to prove a direct link.


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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.