The federal government has allayed the fears of Nigerians over the re-occurence of the out break of the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu), saying, “Nigeria is not in a state of epidemic.” Speaking at a ministerial briefing with journalists on the reported case of the bird flu in Abuja, yesterday, the minister of agriculture and rural development, Dr Akinwumi Adeshina, said, “We are not in a state of any epidemic even though seven states, including Kano, Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Plateau, have so far reported cases of the bird flu.

He added that 21 commercial farms, nine live birds markets and one private zoo have been affected in these states.

Adesina revealed that Kano State, where the initial case of the bird flu was found, remained the most affected with a total of 103,445 birds being exposed to the infection with 15,963 (15 per cent) mortality reported. The affected areas, he said, include Gwale, Kumbotso, Tofa, Gaya, and Ungogo local government areas.

“Initial cases of the bird flu were reported on some poultry farms and in a live market in Kano and Lagos, respectively, on January 8, 2015. While we quickly confirmed that the cases were due to the H5N, we could not at the time determine the biotype. We have now confirmed that the cases were due to the H5N1 Virus,” Adesina said.

He further noted that as at yesterday “a total of 140,390 birds had been associated with bird flu exposures with 22,573 (16 per cent) mortality recorded and added that though bird flu is a disease primarily associated with poultry, it has the ability to affect humans if not properly handled within poultry populations.

The minister assured that all necessary measures to ensure public safety is ensured and that the poultry industry is not significantly affected by the spread of the flu.

“I can assure you that Nigeria is managing the recent outbreak with strong determination, purposefulness and aggressiveness,” he said, adding that “different levels of interventions, including depopulation, decontamination and quarantine are currently on going. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) is spearheading a rapid response system in close collaboration with the states governments’ ministries of agriculture,” the minister said.

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