The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has notified the public of  unusual high mortality being reported in two poultry farms and live bird markets in Kano and Lagos states. According to a statement issued by the ministry and signed by Akinwunmi Adesina, minister for agriculture and rural development, samples forwarded to the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom tested positive for H5 Strain of Avian Influenza virus and confirmatory samples have been sent to the International Reference Laboratory in Padova, Italy for further characterisation.

In the statement, the minister says the ministry has quarantined  infected premises and placed restriction of movement of poultry and poultry products into and out of areas around infected premises. He further said all state directors of veterinary services and FCT, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) and other stakeholders have been informed and advised to be on alert with intensified bio-security measures to avert possible spread of the disease to other states.

“The World Organisation For Animal Health (OIE) and Inter African Bureau For Animal Resource (AU-IBAR) and Development Partners have been appropriately notified in compliance with our statutory international obligations”, he added. The immediate reactivation of all Animal Health components of the Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) on Bird flu for Nigeria has been ordered, he stated. Surveillance activities will also be conducted around infected areas to determine the level of spread of the disease.

Adesina enjoins all stakeholders in the poultry industry to enhance hygienic practices (bio-security measures) which include but not limited to regular disinfection, proper disposal of  carcasses and poultry products and timely reporting of mortalities in poultry and other bird species to veterinary authorities. He also assured the public that given the ministry’s experiences in handling previous outbreaks and with full cooperation in the implementation of containment measures by industry players, this disease would be contained again within a short time.

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