Bird flu in Rivers, residents panic

Posted by News Express | 30 January 2015 | 3,300 times

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Residents of Rivers State are now living in fear as the state government confirmed the outbreak of the Avian Influenza otherwise known as bird flu in another poultry in Port Harcourt.

Many residents are, therefore, avoiding poultry and poultry products, with hoteliers and fast food joints recording low patronage.

The Director of Public Health Services at the Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr. Nnannah Onyekwere, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, confirmed to newsmen that a second poultry has been hit by bird flu at the Eagle Island axis of the city.

 “Initially we had a case of one farm at Elepranwo, but currently it has expanded beyond that. There is one in Government Reserved Area (GRA) around Eagle Island. Samples have been taken and sent to Vom, Jos, for laboratory analysis and confirmation,” he explained.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Emma Chinda, also said hundreds of birds had been eliminated in a privately owned farm affected by the flu in the city, adding that the affected poultry had been quarantined and decontaminated.

According to him, “On January 14, we got a report from a farm that was worrisome. The report we got suggested that the farm may have been infected by the highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.”

He added: “samples of the fl u were taken to the Veterinary Research Institute in Plateau State. Unfortunately, the result came out on January 17 and it read positive of highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. On the basis of that, we had to take necessary steps. Apart from quarantining the farm, we had to depopulate (kill) the birds in the farm to stop further spread.”

The Federal Government had also confirmed the spread of the influenza in 11 states of the federation.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, confirmed the presence of the virus in four states apart from the seven states earlier reported last week.

No human infection of the Avian Influenza, however, has been recorded in Rivers State despite the spread of the virus to the two farms now confirmed by the state government.

Adapted from Newswatch Times

Source: News Express

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