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04.05.2007 General News

Don’t panic eat your fowl- Vet. Services

By myjoyonline
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Ghanaians have been assured that they can still enjoy their delicious chicken irrespective of the bird flu outbreak in Tema.

The Director of the Veterinary Services Department, Dr. Agyen-Frempong told Joy News that it is safe to eat cooked or fried poultry and called on the public not to panic.

He said: “It is entirely safe. The only problem we keep stressing is when you go to buy the live bird which is infected the handling and the preparation is where the problem lies. So if it is infected you are likely to get infected. But if it is dressed chicken and you cook it well you have no problem.”

He said plans are underway to ensure that live birds would no longer be sold on the market except dressed ones.

The Veterinary boss appealed for public cooperation in the enforcement of the ban on the sale and movement of poultry and its products within the Tema metropolis.

The ban is part of measures announced by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to contain the bird flu virus which has been discovered in Tema in the Greater Accra region.

After Wednesday's confirmation of the virus in the country there have been fears it could spread to humans.

But Dr. Agyen-Frempong told Joy News that the virus can be effectively contained so long as the public lends its support to efforts to deal with it.

He said it is important that people limit their contact with live birds as this is the only established means by which the virus can be transmitted to humans.

“The feathers may contain the virus and as you are removing the feathers you might inhale the particulars…if you handle a sick bird and you don't wash your hands properly and you go and your eyes are itching and you use your hands to scratch it you can also get it,” he educated.

Joy News was the first to disclose the discovery of the virus in the country after initial tests by veterinary officials from samples taken of birds at a small-scale poultry farm in Tema.

Further tests at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and later at the WHO laboratories in Italy corroborated earlier findings.