The United States Agency for International Development has trained over 160 Nigerians on the prevention and control of avian flu.

The U.S. Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Jeffery Hawkins, who spoke at a workshop organised for participants from the Federal ministries of Agriculture and Health and the poultry sector in Ibadan, Oyo State, said this was aimed at increasing officials’ competences in detecting and controlling future outbreaks.

He stated, “Avian influenza, or bird flu is a serious threat to the economy and human health. We are fortunate that so far, there have been no human cases in Nigeria, but this outbreak has already taken its toll – with hundreds of farms infected, and hundreds of thousands of birds culled.

“The poultry industry is important to Nigeria and Nigerians. We love our chickens, and we should feel safe and assured when we enjoy our favourite chicken dishes. Just as Nigeria tackled Ebola, it will control bird flu.

“If any of you normally eats raw chickens or eggs, please don’t do it now. With thorough cooking, those who eat chicken and eggs can be safe from this virus.”

Hawkins said that in addition to the training, the agency would be providing Nigeria will Personal Protective Equipment, surveillance gear, and disinfectants for relevant authorities.

Bird flu is a viral disease that largely infects birds, but rarely infects humans. In 2007, there was one human case in Nigeria. However, there are no known human cases in Nigeria so far in the current outbreak.

Globally, the majority of human cases of infection are associated with contact with infected live or dead poultry. Controlling the disease in poultry is the first step in decreasing risks to humans.

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