BY KHALID IDRIS DOYA, Bauchi
The recent outbreak of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Bauchi State is threatening poultry business in the state with poultry farmers counting their losses.
Consequently, the state government has called on poultry farmers to adhere strictly to the guidelines on marketing and movement of poultry products, general hygiene and consumption of wholesome poultry products.
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Bauchi and Toro local government areas with four and five farms respectively were badly affected by the bird flu with resultant loss of about 50,000 birds. 27,000 birds were last Thursday said to have been killed at Narabi village of Toro LGA.
The State Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Pharm. Sama’ila Adamu Burga, who disclosed the outbreak in Bauchi on Friday, said that six other states of the federation from January this year to date have reportedly been affected by resurgence of the disease.
“It is gladdening to state that, so far, many of our poultry industry stakeholders such as poultry owners/workers, my field officers and life bird marketers were screened through a joint exercise between my Ministry, Ministry of Health and NCDC where samples were collected, sent to laboratory and all the results turned out to be negative,” Burga said.
The commissioner, therefore, drew the attention of the public especially poultry farmers on the need to be proactive in maintaining high standards of bio security on their farms, as well as sourcing of poultry and poultry products from reliable and certified sources.
According to him, the Ministry of Agriculture in Bauchi has over 130 qualified veterinary doctors spread across the 20 local government areas of the state, who are always ready to attend to complaints from poultry farmers, marketers and indeed the general public.
He similarly recalled the recent announcement by the Nigerian Centre of Disease Control (NCDC) of seven human cases in Kano and Plateau States, neighbouring Bauchi, saying “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.”
Burga described Avian influenza as a highly infectious zoonotic disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans, saying the disease is known to have caused economic losses either directly through loss of birds and their products or indirectly through losses along the value chain with attendant consequences of loss of jobs.
The Commissioner, who said that the disease, which also has the ability to affect human beings and cause deaths, was in 2006 first recorded at Sambawa Farms in Kaduna State and later spread to other states of the federation, as it resurfaced in 2007, 2015, 2019 and 2021.
He noted with concern, the devastation caused by the series of outbreak resulting in series of loss of sources of livelihood to many people along the value chain, assuring that his ministry was working round the clock in conjunction with stakeholders to ensure that such outbreaks are not only contained but stopped in Bauchi State.