Posted by Xinhuanet on
The deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus continues to spread in poultry in Nigeria and could cause "a regional disaster" despite strong control efforts taken by the authorities, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Wednesday.
LAGOS, Feb. 22 (Xinhuanet) -- The deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus continues to spread in poultry in Nigeria and could cause "a regional disaster" despite strong control efforts taken by the authorities, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Wednesday.
"There is ample evidence that the Nigerian bird flu situation is difficult and worrisome," said FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech in a statement.
"The movement and trade of poultry have strongly contributed to the further spread of the virus. The government has taken the right measures such as culling in outbreak areas and biosecurity controls, but the authorities are facing immense difficulties to enforce controls," Domenech said.
Nigeria is the first country on the African continent to report an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, which has claimed at least 91 lives, mostly in Asia, since 1997.
Information Minister Frank Nweke on Monday confirmed that the virus had spread to three new states in northern Nigeria and the west African country's capital Abuja, bringing to seven the numberof locations already identified with the disease.
Nweke said that the outbreak was "mostly localized to contiguous states" and that no human cases had been recorded in Nigeria.
Domenech advised the Nigerian authorities to prepare for a targeted vaccination campaign as culling and the application of biosecurity measures alone seemed to fail to stop the spread.
The FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health, in collaboration with the Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources of the African Union, are assisting the government in assessing the situation and defining the appropriate strategies to stop the spread of the disease, the statement said.
Domenech said compensating farmers for the loss of their animals could be another important tool to encourage early reporting of outbreaks and for effective application of control measures.
"Without financial incentives, people will probably continue tohide outbreaks and sell infected poultry," Domenech warned.
The FAO said it has allocated around 1 million U.S. dollars to support surveillance and control activities in Nigeria, Egypt, Niger and other African countries. Personal protective equipment has been procured for Nigeria and Niger, it added. Enditem
These terms and conditions contain rules about posting comments. By submitting a comment, you are declaring that you agree with these rules:
Failure to comply with these rules may result in being banned from further commenting.
These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice.