The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has said avian influenza, popularly known as bird flu, is under control. The disease, which broke out in Kano and Lagos, two weeks ago, has been found to Ogun, Rivers, Edo, Delta and Plateau. PAN president, Dr Ayoola Oduntan, said the Federal Government and the association were working to curtail the disease. Oduntan, who spoke in Lagos, said the emergency response has been tremendous, adding that the economic losses would be limited. He said the outbreak first occurred in backyard farms in two rural areas in the two states.

Oduntan said the response will prevent the repeat of 2006 experience, which caused a lot of panic and uproar among the people and resulting in loss of money. “These cases also occur in advanced countries such as United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Egypt but are treated primarily as diseases of chicken,” PAN president said. Commercial poultry farmers, Oduntan said, have been managing their bio-security effectively with the highest level of health to prevent the disease. He said bid flu is also being tracked in  other states, adding that there is no confirmation yet on them.

Oduntan said there is a similar disease which poultry farmers handle on a daily basis known as Newcastle. This, he said, has similar symptoms as avian influenza (bird flu). Oduntan said the disease can be recognised if a chicken’s feather is ruffled or when it produced soft-shelled eggs. Also, when a chicken is depressed and shows droopiness or when there is sudden drop in egg production and loss of appetite. Others are cyanosis (purplish-blue coloring) of wattles and comb, edema and swelling of head, eyelids, comb, wattles, and hocks.

They also show green diarrhea, blood-tinged discharge from nostrils, incoordination, including loss of ability to walk and stand and pin-point hemorrhages (most easily seen on the feet and shanks). Respiratory distress, increased death losses in a flock, sudden death and nasal discharges are other symptoms. “Of the 1500 birds in the Kano farm about 75 per cent was affected. The figure is much less in the Lagos farm,” he said.

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