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Deadly bird flu strain hits Nigeria

Chicken

By Dulue Mbachu, Lagos
THE deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected on a large commercial chicken farm in Nigeria - the first reported outbreak in Africa, the World Organisation for Animal Health said yesterday.

No human infections have been reported, it said.

Nigeria said the outbreak was on a farm in Jaji, a village in the northern state of Kaduna. Agriculture Minister Adamu Bello said the deadly strain was detected in samples taken on January 16 from birds on the farm.

Bird flu began ravaging poultry stocks across Asia in 2003, forcing the slaughter of more than 100 million birds and jumping to humans. The World Health Organisation has confirmed 88 deaths out of 165 cases of human infection. Almost all the cases have been in Asia, but the disease recently has been detected in Europe and the Middle East.

Though all the people who contracted the disease so far are believed to have been infected through contact with sick birds, experts are concerned the disease could mutate into a form easily spread from human to human, potentially triggering a global pandemic.

Experts have long been concerned about Africa's ability to deal with a bird flu outbreak. The World Organisation for Animal Health's Alex Thiermann noted that some African countries have "very weak" veterinary systems.

He said all 46,000 birds on the Nigerian farm have been killed and their bodies disposed of, and Nigerian authorities have banned the movement of birds and people from the farm. Officials also are investigating if birds were transferred to other farms in the past 21 days, and they, too, are being quarantined, he said.

Experts had suspected migrating birds could spread the disease to Africa said Mr Thiermann, noting Nigeria is on a "major flyway".

A laboratory in Italy identified the H5N1 strain in the Nigerian birds. Further tests are being carried out to determine how closely the Nigerian strain matched the H5N1 strain detected elsewhere in the world.

The Italian Health Ministry said the bird flu strain is very similar to those found in Siberia and Mongolia.

A team of experts to assess and provide technical advice will leave for Nigeria this week, said Mr Thiermann.

Health officials had feared a deadly bird flu virus could enter impoverished, loosely governed African regions, where many people raise chickens at home for personal consumption.

Nigerian officials said that initial tests on chickens that mysteriously died in Kano, a state neighbouring Kaduna, showed no signs of bird flu. Salihu Jibrin, head of the state's livestock department said at least 60,000 birds have died in Kano state in recent weeks.

Large-scale poultry farms aside, many Nigerian families live in close quarters with chickens and other fowl, which are an important food source. The birds generally are kept with other domestic animals at night but are allowed to roam freely during the day.

Controlling the spread of the virus could be particularly difficult in Africa, where central governments often exert little control in far-flung rural areas most likely to have people keeping fowl in their homes.

 

Deadly bird flu strain hits Nigeria

Chicken

By Dulue Mbachu, Lagos
THE deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected on a large commercial chicken farm in Nigeria - the first reported outbreak in Africa, the World Organisation for Animal Health said yesterday.

No human infections have been reported, it said.

Nigeria said the outbreak was on a farm in Jaji, a village in the northern state of Kaduna. Agriculture Minister Adamu Bello said the deadly strain was detected in samples taken on January 16 from birds on the farm.

Bird flu began ravaging poultry stocks across Asia in 2003, forcing the slaughter of more than 100 million birds and jumping to humans. The World Health Organisation has confirmed 88 deaths out of 165 cases of human infection. Almost all the cases have been in Asia, but the disease recently has been detected in Europe and the Middle East.

Though all the people who contracted the disease so far are believed to have been infected through contact with sick birds, experts are concerned the disease could mutate into a form easily spread from human to human, potentially triggering a global pandemic.

Experts have long been concerned about Africa's ability to deal with a bird flu outbreak. The World Organisation for Animal Health's Alex Thiermann noted that some African countries have "very weak" veterinary systems.

He said all 46,000 birds on the Nigerian farm have been killed and their bodies disposed of, and Nigerian authorities have banned the movement of birds and people from the farm. Officials also are investigating if birds were transferred to other farms in the past 21 days, and they, too, are being quarantined, he said.

Experts had suspected migrating birds could spread the disease to Africa said Mr Thiermann, noting Nigeria is on a "major flyway".

A laboratory in Italy identified the H5N1 strain in the Nigerian birds. Further tests are being carried out to determine how closely the Nigerian strain matched the H5N1 strain detected elsewhere in the world.

The Italian Health Ministry said the bird flu strain is very similar to those found in Siberia and Mongolia.

A team of experts to assess and provide technical advice will leave for Nigeria this week, said Mr Thiermann.

Health officials had feared a deadly bird flu virus could enter impoverished, loosely governed African regions, where many people raise chickens at home for personal consumption.

Nigerian officials said that initial tests on chickens that mysteriously died in Kano, a state neighbouring Kaduna, showed no signs of bird flu. Salihu Jibrin, head of the state's livestock department said at least 60,000 birds have died in Kano state in recent weeks.

Large-scale poultry farms aside, many Nigerian families live in close quarters with chickens and other fowl, which are an important food source. The birds generally are kept with other domestic animals at night but are allowed to roam freely during the day.

Controlling the spread of the virus could be particularly difficult in Africa, where central governments often exert little control in far-flung rural areas most likely to have people keeping fowl in their homes.

 

Deadly bird flu strain hits Nigeria

Chicken

By Dulue Mbachu, Lagos
THE deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected on a large commercial chicken farm in Nigeria - the first reported outbreak in Africa, the World Organisation for Animal Health said yesterday.

No human infections have been reported, it said.

Nigeria said the outbreak was on a farm in Jaji, a village in the northern state of Kaduna. Agriculture Minister Adamu Bello said the deadly strain was detected in samples taken on January 16 from birds on the farm.

Bird flu began ravaging poultry stocks across Asia in 2003, forcing the slaughter of more than 100 million birds and jumping to humans. The World Health Organisation has confirmed 88 deaths out of 165 cases of human infection. Almost all the cases have been in Asia, but the disease recently has been detected in Europe and the Middle East.

Though all the people who contracted the disease so far are believed to have been infected through contact with sick birds, experts are concerned the disease could mutate into a form easily spread from human to human, potentially triggering a global pandemic.

Experts have long been concerned about Africa's ability to deal with a bird flu outbreak. The World Organisation for Animal Health's Alex Thiermann noted that some African countries have "very weak" veterinary systems.

He said all 46,000 birds on the Nigerian farm have been killed and their bodies disposed of, and Nigerian authorities have banned the movement of birds and people from the farm. Officials also are investigating if birds were transferred to other farms in the past 21 days, and they, too, are being quarantined, he said.

Experts had suspected migrating birds could spread the disease to Africa said Mr Thiermann, noting Nigeria is on a "major flyway".

A laboratory in Italy identified the H5N1 strain in the Nigerian birds. Further tests are being carried out to determine how closely the Nigerian strain matched the H5N1 strain detected elsewhere in the world.

The Italian Health Ministry said the bird flu strain is very similar to those found in Siberia and Mongolia.

A team of experts to assess and provide technical advice will leave for Nigeria this week, said Mr Thiermann.

Health officials had feared a deadly bird flu virus could enter impoverished, loosely governed African regions, where many people raise chickens at home for personal consumption.

Nigerian officials said that initial tests on chickens that mysteriously died in Kano, a state neighbouring Kaduna, showed no signs of bird flu. Salihu Jibrin, head of the state's livestock department said at least 60,000 birds have died in Kano state in recent weeks.

Large-scale poultry farms aside, many Nigerian families live in close quarters with chickens and other fowl, which are an important food source. The birds generally are kept with other domestic animals at night but are allowed to roam freely during the day.

Controlling the spread of the virus could be particularly difficult in Africa, where central governments often exert little control in far-flung rural areas most likely to have people keeping fowl in their homes.

 

Deadly bird flu strain hits Nigeria

Chicken

By Dulue Mbachu, Lagos
THE deadly H5N1 bird flu virus has been detected on a large commercial chicken farm in Nigeria - the first reported outbreak in Africa, the World Organisation for Animal Health said yesterday.

No human infections have been reported, it said.

Nigeria said the outbreak was on a farm in Jaji, a village in the northern state of Kaduna. Agriculture Minister Adamu Bello said the deadly strain was detected in samples taken on January 16 from birds on the farm.

Bird flu began ravaging poultry stocks across Asia in 2003, forcing the slaughter of more than 100 million birds and jumping to humans. The World Health Organisation has confirmed 88 deaths out of 165 cases of human infection. Almost all the cases have been in Asia, but the disease recently has been detected in Europe and the Middle East.

Though all the people who contracted the disease so far are believed to have been infected through contact with sick birds, experts are concerned the disease could mutate into a form easily spread from human to human, potentially triggering a global pandemic.

Experts have long been concerned about Africa's ability to deal with a bird flu outbreak. The World Organisation for Animal Health's Alex Thiermann noted that some African countries have "very weak" veterinary systems.

He said all 46,000 birds on the Nigerian farm have been killed and their bodies disposed of, and Nigerian authorities have banned the movement of birds and people from the farm. Officials also are investigating if birds were transferred to other farms in the past 21 days, and they, too, are being quarantined, he said.

Experts had suspected migrating birds could spread the disease to Africa said Mr Thiermann, noting Nigeria is on a "major flyway".

A laboratory in Italy identified the H5N1 strain in the Nigerian birds. Further tests are being carried out to determine how closely the Nigerian strain matched the H5N1 strain detected elsewhere in the world.

The Italian Health Ministry said the bird flu strain is very similar to those found in Siberia and Mongolia.

A team of experts to assess and provide technical advice will leave for Nigeria this week, said Mr Thiermann.

Health officials had feared a deadly bird flu virus could enter impoverished, loosely governed African regions, where many people raise chickens at home for personal consumption.

Nigerian officials said that initial tests on chickens that mysteriously died in Kano, a state neighbouring Kaduna, showed no signs of bird flu. Salihu Jibrin, head of the state's livestock department said at least 60,000 birds have died in Kano state in recent weeks.

Large-scale poultry farms aside, many Nigerian families live in close quarters with chickens and other fowl, which are an important food source. The birds generally are kept with other domestic animals at night but are allowed to roam freely during the day.

Controlling the spread of the virus could be particularly difficult in Africa, where central governments often exert little control in far-flung rural areas most likely to have people keeping fowl in their homes.