Avian influenza hits Kebbi———————— Govt intensifies control measures


From Maiharaji Altine Salah

Kebbi state government has stepped up efforts to control the spread of Avian influenza discovered in the state.

This was stated by state’s Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Alheri Ibrahim Sanchi, while speaking to newsmen shortly after fumigating a farm infected with the disease located at Amanawa village, Kalgo, outskirts of Birnin Kebbi.

In a statement, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Nasir Idris, Alhaji Ahmed Idris disclosed that, the disease had so far killed 14 peacocks in the affected facility.

The fumigation was carried out by a team of professionals under “One Health”, comprising experts from ministries of Animal Husbandry, Health, Environment, Information, as well as Principal Partners.

Sanchi said the essence of the exercise was to curtail spread.

He explained that some peacocks were reported to have been ill and the pattern of mortality became worrisome, “so, we sent a team of veterinary doctors for preliminary investigation”.

“Upon investigation, we found it necessary to take samples and those samples were sent to Veterinary Diagnostic Reference Laboratory in Jos.

“When those samples were analysed, unfortunately for us, they returned positive for ‘Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1)’,

“So, this is what necessitated this exercise, to first of all come to the scene where these birds were resident and do the needful.”

The director said that the main task was to ensure that the incident did not go beyond the affected facility.

He assured that the team would go ahead and take active surveillance, “which is a pathern of seeking for other likely cases that may be occuring in our state.”

He said that considering the fact that “highly pathogenic avian influenza is zoonotic infection that has the tendency to spread to humans”, the team had also undertaken the veterinary component of it, while colleagues in human health would identify individuals in contact with the animals for necessary action.

Ibrahim-Sanchi appealed to poultry owners to remain calm but be vigilant, and intensify bio-security, adding that “it is a disease that potent high economic lose for poultry owners.”

He advised poultry farmers to share information with their colleagues, minimise the number of persons who visit the poultry.

The director also enjoined them to restrict movement of birds, avoid sharing of farm implements to curb spread of the disease.

Sanchi added that the ministry, in collaboration with sister ministries and agencies like ministry of health, environment and information and principal partners, were making efforts to sensitise the public on the disease.

Also in an interview, the Director, Public Health, Kebbi Ministry of Health, Abubakar Bagudu-Muhammad, confirmed that the disease had the potency to affect humans, adding that “it is also pathogenic; meaning it can be transmitted from one person to another.”

He, however, said they were working as a team, involving animal, human, environment, information and other stakeholders to coordinate emergency health activities at the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to curtail any outbreak.

Muhammad charged veterinary zonal officers, local government disease surveillance and notification under health, zonal officers of ministry of environment and focal persons at the ward and community levels to be vigilant and put more attention on boarder axis.

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