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FG: Bird flu hits 123 LGAs, 800 farms

The Federal Government, in its latest report on the current situation of Avian Influenza, has said that the virus, popularly known as bird flu, is now in 123 local government areas and 800 poultry farms across the country.

According to the government, six states and the Federal Capital Territory had reported the disease in 2017, adding that the last reported outbreak was from Kaduna State on May 30 this year.

In a document presented to commissioners of agriculture from the 36 states of the federation by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Friday, which was obtained by Punch in Abuja, the Federal Government explained that aside Kaduna, other states where the cases of bird flu were reported this year, include Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa and Plateau.

Bird flu is a highly contagious viral disease, initially of birds but affects other animal species and humans.

The disease is spread by migratory wild birds and movement of infected birds and products, which can have serious socio-economic, public health, as well as security implications.

Experts say the disease can kill all birds in a poultry farm and can cause 100 per cent mortality.

The disease was first reported in Nigeria in 2006 and was successfully controlled and eradicated in July 2008.

However, bird flu reoccurred in a commercial poultry farm in Kano, as well as in a live bird market in Lagos in December 2014.

In November 2016, an isolated case of a new sub-type (H5N8) of the virus was identified in Kano State, from where it eventually spread to other states.

It was gathered earlier this year that the spread of the virus to 26 states and captured efforts being made by the federal and state governments to contain it.

However, the latest report from FMARD presented to commissioners of agriculture from all states in Nigeria on Friday revealed that the virus was still in 26 states and has increased its presence in 123 LGAs and 800 poultry farms.

The FMARD also stated that bird flu had affected a zoo, adding that an additional 236,824 birds had been culled as a result of the disease.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had put the number of birds affected by the disease earlier this year at about 3.5 million, and explained that Nigeria’s neighbours were proposing to ban poultry products from Nigeria.

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