Avian flu in Africa: FAO/OIE urge quick action
Nigeria’s neighbouring countries should step up surveillance and border controls
10 February 2006, Rome/Paris – The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus often spreads through the movement of affected birds, FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said today.
Therefore the movement of poultry should be stopped immediately in order to contain the disease. People should not import or trade livestock or livestock products, including poultry.
FAO and OIE today called upon veterinary authorities in Nigeria to immediately close down poultry markets throughout Kaduna and Kano states and neighbouring regions to prevent the further spread of the deadly bird flu virus.
Countries surrounding Nigeria (Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Niger and Togo) should increase surveillance measures, the two organizations said in a joint statement. Veterinary staff should be mobilized to tighten border inspections and control.
Priority measures include: appropriate culling respecting OIE standards in and around outbreak spots, ring vaccination around infected areas, the control of people and livestock moving to and from outbreak zones, thorough disinfection, hygiene and good farming practices. Only vaccines that fulfil OIE international quality standards should be used.
FAO and OIE welcomed the emergency measures applied in Kaduna, Kano and Plateau states, where suspected bird flu cases in poultry are under investigation. However, control measures need to be intensified applying standard procedures recommended by FAO and the OIE international guidelines.
Statement by Nigeria’s agriculture minister
FAO and OIE welcomed a statement by the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Mallam A. Bello, that farmers would be compensated for livestock losses caused by the disease and culling. Compensation schemes are useful to encourage early disease reporting.
Veterinary staff and technicians working in outbreak areas and laboratories should wear protective clothing. FAO and the US Department of Agriculture are shipping over 1 000 sets of protective gear to Nigeria.
FAO and OIE will field a joint mission to Nigeria within 48 hours to reinforce the FAO veterinary team already on the ground. The mission will assess the situation and will advise on emergency measures and needs.
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