The federal government has disclosed that there was escalation of avian influenza, commonly referred to as bird-flu (H5N1 virus) in three states of the federation, including Kano, Plateau and Bauchi.
The government also stated that it had successfully stabilised the outbreak of the virus in the southern part of the country, noting that the situation was not beyond control.
Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) Architect Sunny Echono gave this hint in Abuja while announcing deployment of equipment’s to118 Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises (AEHE) across the nation.
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Echono who did not give details of the escalation, promised that government was doing everything to curb further transmission of the virus.
“We are on top of the situation, I can confirm to you, indeed, in the south, we have stabilized the situation; there are very few, if any new cases are coming-up. But we are not entirely out of the hook, we have some spite in three states, like Kano in particular, that is the eye of the needle for us, we have an unfortunate situation where we have some degree of escalation, but from our projections, it should have actually dipped or dropped. Then we have also in Plateau and Bauchi,” he said.
According to Echono, government had mobilised technical support to the three states where containment and decontamination exercises are currently ongoing.
“But we have deployed men and materials and resources to these areas, we have also mobilised support, technical expertise from our partners and we are on top of the situation in those 3 states. We have teams out there now doing containment, quarantine and decontamination and also dis-infecting premises and they are ensuring that cases of transmission are curbed completely,” he added.
According to Thisday in the last few weeks that five additional states of Kaduna, Bauchi, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states joined the list of affected states, and other state might have been affected without confirmation.
It was also gathered that some farmers secretly slaughter their birds for fear that they them test positive to the virus.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina had directed that all new discoveries of bird-flu be channeled to a Central Information Unit (CIU) from which only the minister could authorise release of such information.
“The minister has directed that information about new discovery and related matters be channeled to a Central Information Unit; nobody except the minister is permitted to speak on the issue. However, I can confirm to you that in the last one week, Kaduna, Bauchi, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara have been affected.”
It is also expected that more states would be affected overtime.
“The spread was possible due to movement of people and birds. I can also tell you that some poultry owners secretly slaughter their birds for the fear of been tested of bird-flu, but now that government has made provision to compensate affected poultry owners, they are now willing to subject their birds to tests, and that is how these news cases were discovered.”
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina had in January announced outbreak of the virus.
He disclosed that five states of Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Plateau states had far recorded cases of bird flu in addition to Kano and Lagos states, where the virus were first reported.