The Bauchi State Government, on Saturday, identified two local government areas of the state, Bauchi and Toro, as the epicentres of Avian Influenza, also known as bird flu.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sama’ila Adamu Burga, informed that the state was among seven states in the country that had a resurgence of the highly infectious zoonotic disease since January this year.
According to the commissioner, Bauchi and Toro LGAs were badly affected by the bird flu disease, informing that about 50,000 birds at five and four farms in Toro and Bauchi respectively, were battling with the disease.
He added only last Thursday alone 27,000 birds culled in Narabi village in Toro Local Government Area and called on poultry farmers and the general public to adhere strictly to the guidelines on marketing and movement of poultry products, general hygiene and consumption of wholesome poultry and poultry products.
Burga emphasised on the need for the people of the state, particularly poultry farmers to be proactive in maintaining high standards of bio security on their farms, as well as maintaining due diligence in sourcing of poultry and poultry products from reliable and certified sources.
Describing Avian influenza as a highly infectious disease, the commissioner warned that it could be transmitted from animals to humans, adding that the disease is well known to have caused human death as well as economic losses either directly through loss of birds and their products or indirectly through losses in the poultry value chain.
Tracing incidence of bird flu in Nigeria, Burga informed that the disease was first recorded in 2006 at Sambawa Farms in Kaduna State, adding that it later spread to other states of the country and resurged in 2007, 2015, 2019 and this year.
The commissioner stated that the series of bird flu outbreaks had caused devastation, leading to loss of the sources of livelihood for many people in the poultry value chain.
He, however, expressed happiness that so far no human being had contracted the disease in the state, submitting that tests carried out by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in conjunction with his ministry and the state Ministry of Health had returned negative.
“It is gladdening to state that, so far, many of our poultry industry stakeholders such as poultry owners, workers, my field officers and live bird marketers were screened through a joint exercise between my ministry, Ministry of Health and NCDC. Samples were collected, sent to the laboratory and all the results turned out to be negative,” Burga informed.
While urging people of the state to promptly draw government’s attention to suspected bird flu cases, the commissioner disclosed that the state Ministry of Agriculture had over 130 qualified veterinary doctors spread across the 20 local government areas of the state.
According to him, the veterinary doctors were always ready to attend to complaints from poultry farmers, marketers and indeed the general public.
He then urged for concerted efforts by all to curtail the current outbreak of the disease in the state, declaring that, “all hands must be on deck to ensure that the present wave is brought to a stop and prevent human infection in Bauchi State which can be a serious catastrophe.”
He said this became imperative in view of the recent disclosure by the NCDC that seven human cases of bird flu had been recorded in Kano and Plateau States.