Delta State Government yesterday confirmed the fresh outbreak of Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu with an estimated population of 164,473 birds so far affected in farms across seven Local Government Areas of the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Julius Egbedi disclosed this in a Press Conference jointly chaired by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, today in Asaba.
Egbedi said that the affected farms were located in Udu, Oshimili South, Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Okpe and Sapele Local Government Areas, stressing that samples from the reported farms had been sent to the National Veterinary Institute, Jos, and all were confirmed to be the H5N1 strain of the Avian Influenza.
He said that the state government, through its Department of Veterinary Services, had disinfected the affected farms and had also forbidden the operation of poultry farms for the next three months, adding that more efforts were underway to contain the situation with collaboration from all the LGA Chairmen.
‘’From what we have discovered, wild birds are the primary hosts of Avian Influenza. We suspect that these wild birds may have gotten in contact with some birds in the poultry and that may have been the genesis of the outbreak.
‘’We are using this medium to enlighten our poultry farmers across the state to take all necessary measures in protecting their farms. They should not bring in birds which they suspect to have been infected or allow people from infected farms into their farms’’ Egbedi said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture further advised all farmers in the state to insure their farms to cushion the burden from such outbreaks or other natural disasters, even as he urged farmers to immediately report suspected cases to the Ministry for timely intervention.
Meanwhile the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, hinted that the state government is putting measures in place to ameliorate the loss of affected farms as they have contributed to the prosperity vision of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration.
‘’The State Government will meet them halfway because we believe that their actions have helped us to mop unemployment by creating jobs for our people. The fact that the government is making efforts to curtail spread by disinfecting farms means that we are already intervening and taking actions.
‘’We are not only sympathizing with the affected farmers but we are also assuring them that, as a government, we will take those steps that will ensure that we are able to sustain poultry and the agricultural sector in the state’’ he said.