January 22, 2015
 

Nigeria confirms H5N1 bird flu

 

 

Nigeria's agriculture minister confirmed on Wednesday that five states have been hit by H5N1 bird flu that had killed tens of thousands of poultry, the news agency Agence France-Presse reported.

 

Akinwumi Adesina said the first cases were confirmed on a commercial farm in Kano city in northern Nigeria and a live bird market in Lagos State in the southern part on January 8.

 

Earlier local health authorities in Lagos and Port Harcourt city, also in southern Nigeria, disclosed that thousands of chickens had been culled in their areas after the discovery of the H5 strain of avian influenza in several poultry farms during the Christmas and New Year season.

 

"While we quickly confirmed that the cases were due to H5, we could not at the time determine the biotype. We have now confirmed that the cases were due to the H5N1 virus," Adesima said, adding that they were "taking all measures necessary to ensure that public safety is protected and that the poultry industry is not significantly affected by the spread of the bird flu."

 

Besides Kano and Lagos, Adesina said Ogun State in the southwest and Delta and Rivers, both in the south, were hit by bird flu outbreak. He added that 15 commercial farms and nine live bird markets were affected.

 

"As at today, January 21, 2015, a total of 139,505 birds have been associated with bird flu exposures, with 22,173 (15 percent) mortality recorded," he said.

 

Adesina said Kano was the worst hit, with 103,445 bird exposed to infection, out of which nearly 16,000 had died.

 

Adesina claimed that the country was "not in a state of any epidemic" and that the risk to humans was small. The H5N1 bird flu virus is known to have killed over 400 people worldwide-most of them in southeast Asia—since 2003, when it first appeared.

 

"I can assure you that Nigeria is managing the recent outbreak with strong determination, purposefulness and aggressiveness," he was quoted as telling reporters in Abuja, the capital city.

 

Adesina said concerned authorities were undertaking biosecurity measures including comprehensive surveillance of poultry farms across the country, quarantine, and decontamination of outbreak sites.

 

Nigeria is increasingly becoming an important poultry producer, with agricultural lender Rabobank identifying it in 2013 as one of the five most promising in the world in terms of poultry production growth.

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