July 30, 2008


Nigeria reports fresh outbreak of H5N1 bird flu


Nigerian authorities have reported a fresh outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus in the northern states of Katsina and Kano, the official NAN news agency said Tuesday (July 29).


The virus was confirmed through tests on affected birds on a poultry farm in Kano State and it has killed 4,249 birds, NAN quoted a state agriculture official as saying.


The official said the outbreak was first reported at the weekend following an initial loss of 1,514 birds on the farm.


He said 15 local chickens, 60 guinea fowl and 10 ducks had also been confirmed dead in another outbreak in Katsina State.


He said the government had asked scientists to carry out forensic investigation in the affected areas and some parts of the country.


"It is suspected that the disease might have been transmitted by migratory birds or through illegal importation of birds, because one of the affected birds in Gombe was a water animal," he added.


Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with some 140 million people, last year reported west Africa's first human bird flu death.


A 22-year-old woman died in Lagos in January 2007 weeks after plucking and disemboweling a chicken.


Bird flu was first detected in Nigeria on a farm in Jaji town outside the northern city of Kano in February 2006 from where it spread to other parts of the country.


Kano, northern Nigeria's most populous city, was the worst affected by the bird flu outbreak which ravaged 97 farms in the city resulting in the death or culling of at least 300,000 birds.

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