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Bird Flu spreads to more states

THE HSNI Influenza Virus, also known as bird flu, has spread to four more states in Nigeria, bringing the number of affected states to 11.

The virus is now in Oyo, Jigawa, Imo, Gombe, Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Edo, Delta, Rivers and Plateau States.

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina, on Thursday, January 28, 2015, confirmed the virus had spread to four more states.

The government planned to compensate farmers with N145 million.  The emergency measures to contain the virus include intensified surveillance, depopulation, quarantine and decontamination of the infected farms and live birds markets.

According to the minister, the compensation is to ensure that farmers do not lose their businesses as a result of the devastation by the virus.

He said, “We will do everything to ensure that we protect our poultry industry from this particular situation.

“In all these, the whole of N145 million will be paid out to the farmers and we have the list of all the farms.  We have collected all the information and this amount will cover the farms where we have done depopulation.

“We have done a depopulation of 100,000 birds in which there had been a total exposure of 144,589 birds.  So, we have the farms that have been depopulated.  100,000 birds and some of these farms even before we started our depopulation had mortality of about 44,489.”

ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke to a medical doctor, veterinary doctor, poultry farmer and restaurant operator on how to curb the spread of bird flu.

TADE ADENIYI OLANREWAJU, Avian Influenza Desk Officer, Ogun State Veterinary Hospital

At what stage can the virus be detected in human?

It’s a genetic disease.  The type of bird flying around now can’t affect humans.

What is the risk factor for human infection?

People who get close to the chicken are at risk.  In some countries they build their houses in such a way that the birds sleep on top and they sleep under like a bunk.  We should all be at alert.

How can the virus be prevented from getting into our farms and contacting humans?

Security is the first step.  Ensure people from other farms don’t get into your farm.  Do everything to disinfect your farm and regular washing of hands after caring for the birds.

What is your advice to the general public?

Please, we can eat our chicken but boil and fry well.  The virus can’t survive under high heat.  Wash your eggs before boiling or frying.

OGBOIH KENNEDY ORIKE, MD, Hosanna Grace Clinic, Mushin, Lagos

At what stage can the virus be detected in human?

We medical doctors try as much as possible to know what is happening around us.  The veterinary doctors know better, but we could see the effects on human beings.  It’s difficult for me to really say because I have never treated one.

What is the risk factor for human infection?

The common risk factor is when humans get in contact with infected birds.  Human to human contact is few.

How can the virus be prevented from getting into our farms and contacting humans?

The first thing to do is to go to the hospital when you see any uncommon sign.  We should be highly informed and make sure we avoid direct contact with birds.

What is your advice to the general public?

When a patient has signs like sore throat, catarrh, he should report to public health centres where they have enough equipment and access to expert management and care, unlike private hospitals that are limited.

AWOYEMI ABIODUN, Poultry farmer

How do you cope now that there is outbreak of bird flu?

We take necessary measures to ensure that it doesn’t get into our farm.

What are the measures you take so that your birds would not be infected?

We give our birds antibiotics.  We cage them all through the day.  We clean their cage and wash where we put their food regularly.  We change their water frequently.

How do you protect yourself from the virus?

Don’t wear the cloth you used to feed them all through the day, don’t go to other people’s farm and wash our hands with soap after feeding the birds.

Rice Pius Caterers

What measures do you take so as to prevent the contact of bird flu?

We wash the chicken properly, under running tap and boil very well before frying.  It helps eliminate any bacteria in the chicken.  We can’t stop eating or selling chicken because of bird flu.

– NKECHINYERE IBEMERE

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