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Bird Flu: Seven farms affected in Ghana

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Dr Patrick Abakeh, Director, Veterinary Services Directorate, says seven farms have so far been affected by the Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in the country.

In all, 5,811 birds died naturally on the affected farms, while the Veterinary Services destroyed 4,500 birds, he said.

The Director said the disease affected five farms in Greater Accra with 3,167 birds dead naturally and 300 destroyed.

It affected one farm in the Central Region with 2,400 birds dying naturally and 4,200 destroyed.

It also affected one farm in the Volta Region, with 224 birds dead naturally.

Dr Abakeh, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the bird flu disease was first detected on July 6 and samples taken to the laboratory and confirmed on July 8, 2021.

A statement from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture confirmed the outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza disease in the three regions.

The Ministry, therefore, declared a total ban on the importation of poultry and poultry products from neighboring countries where the prevalence of the disease had been confirmed.

It has also placed a ban on the movement of poultry and poultry products within and from the affected regions and districts to other parts of the country, and strict inspection and issuance of permits to cover the movement of all poultry and poultry products from unaffected parts of the country.

“The zoonotic nature of the disease calls for public alert and vigilance to mitigate the possible impact on the poultry industry and public health, in general,” the statement cautioned.

It advised citizens to report any unusual deaths of domestic poultry and wild birds to the nearest Veterinary Office and public authorities for public safety.

The public should also avoid the handling of dead birds with bare hands and consume only well-cooked poultry meat and poultry products.

“The outbreak of the disease follows the detection of similar cases in neighboring countries since January 2021,” it said.

“Through effective surveillance and disease control management, the Veterinary Services Directorate has prevented the extension of the disease into Ghana until now.”

It noted that cases of the Bird Flu disease were previously recorded in 2007, 2015, 2016 and 2018, with significant economic impact on affected poultry farmers.

The statement said the Ministry was also intensifying public awareness and sensitization through the Regional Coordinating Councils and District Assemblies, especially in the affected areas.

It, however, urged the public not to panic because the Veterinary Services Directorate was taking all the necessary steps to contain the outbreak and spread of the disease.

It urged the public to contact Dr Abakeh on phone number 020-8240734 for further information.

The Center for Disease Control explained that the disease was caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses.

These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.

Avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans.

However, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred.

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