3.5 million birds infected with flu in 26 states – Ogbeh

The Federal Government has said the Avian Influenza Virus otherwise known as bird flu has affected 3.5 million birds.

This was disclosed by Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh in Tuesday

at a consultative meeting with commissioners for agriculture/livestock, and major stakeholders in the poultry industry.

Ogbeh said the virus has spread to 26 states.

He said, “Almost a decade later, precisely in December 2014, the disease reoccurred in a commercial poultry farm and a live bird market in Kano and Lagos states, respectively. The current status of the disease in the country is quite alarming; it has now affected 26 states and the FCT, with over 3.5 million birds culled so far.

“Recently, a new strain of the bird flu virus (H5N8) was reported in Kano. The new strain is believed to be very pathogenic and more devastating to poultry species and, therefore, it may further add to the burden of the H5N1 strain that is currently circulating in the country.

“The disease is transboundary in nature and also trade-limiting; some of our neighbouring countries have proposed to ban poultry and poultry products from Nigeria. This may undesirably lead to an egg glut in the country.”

He said one of the reasons for the outbreak of the virus was lack of compliance with on-farm quarantine measures and unregulated activities of egg and manure merchants.

Ogbeh said the Federal Government has provided disease containment materials and enhanced the laboratory diagnostics capacity at the National Veterinary Research Institute in Plateau State.

“The Federal Government is determined to continue to work with state governments, PAN and other stakeholders in the poultry industry to come up with sustainable measures to prevent, control and eradicate this disease from our country within the shortest time possible. This is the major reason for our meeting here today,” Ogbeh said.