Avian flu reported in 21 Nigerian states

A sample of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza. | Courtesy of the CDC
The Nigerian government announced Wednesday that avian influenza has been reported in 85 areas in 21 states with approximately 491 farmers affected by this outbreak.

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Sonny Echono said approximately 1.6 million birds have been killed.

Echono spoke with leading poultry industry members on this outbreak and reported that Lagos, Ogun, Enugu, Abia, Oyo and the Federal Capital Territory were affected by the outbreak between July and September. “These new outbreaks have been attributed to non-compliance with biosecurity in farms, limited awareness creation on disease among poultry farmers, disregard to public policy on sitting of poultry farms, and other enforcement protocols which are expected to be implemented by the states,” Echono said.

He also said government officials have begun the process of decontaminating farms to prevent further spread of the virus, and that the Nigerian government intends to distribute $5.52 million as compensation to 138 of the most-significantly affected farmers.

According to Promedmail.org, Nigeria has seen two previous outbreaks of avian influenza as of Dec. 24, 2014. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the strain, the Highly Pathogenic Asian Avian Influenza, has the potential to cause severe illness in humans.

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