Bird Flu

The Kaduna State Government says it has started a massive sensitisation campaign in about 400 poultry farms to curtail the spread of Avian Influenza, or Bird Flu, in the state.

Dr Abel Williams, Desk Officer, Avian Influenza Control Project, Kaduna State, said this on Thursday in Kaduna.

Williams said that the state had already embarked on massive radio and TV campaigns to sensitise poultry farmers to good practices and other measures that would curb the spread of the poultry disease.

He said that the government had taken some decontamination measures, adding that over 23,000 birds had been depopulated from affected farms as at May 30.

Williams said the state officials had depopulated 16,000 birds in the poultry farms, adding, however, that no fewer than 7,000 birds had been killed by the plague before the cases were reported.

He said that the bird flu outbreak was confirmed in some farms in parts of Chikun and Igabi Local Government Areas between January and May this year.

He said that 8,000 birds were depopulated in the first outbreak in January; 12,000 birds in March and additional 1,200 birds were depopulated as at May 30.

Williams said that officials were closely monitoring other poultry farms across the state, so as to curtail the spread of the disease to farms, which were hitherto not affected by the outbreak.

He said that the government had approved funds for officials to embark on the decontamination of the farms and ensure best practices.

He, however, expressed concern over the delay in the payment of compensation to no fewer than 39 farmers, who were affected by a similar Avian Influenza outbreak in the state some years ago.

Williams said that due to the delay, farmers were becoming reluctant to announce an outbreak of the disease in their farms.

He noted the farmers preferred to sell off their birds whenever when they showed symptoms of the disease.

However, Dr Gideon Mshelbwala of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, recently said that N674 million compensation had been paid to 269 farmers, who were earlier affected by the disease, across the country.

The Federal Government on Friday announced the outbreak of Avian Influenza in the FCT and seven states of the country.

Officials of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development listed Kaduna, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa and Plateau states as well as the FCT as those areas that were worst hit in the latest outbreak as at May 30.