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10.05.2007 Togo

Togo bans Ghana poultry

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Togo banned poultry from neighbouring Ghana on Wednesday after a case of the deadly H5N1 bird flu was detected there, the agriculture ministry said.

A week ago, Ghana became the eighth African country to report a case of the H5N1 bird flu virus in poultry. Some 1,700 birds were culled after the discovery.

Togo authorities on Wednesday asked residents to notify veterinarians of any "sudden and massive poultry or wild bird deaths" and to avoid handling dead birds.

The country put a national bird flu plan into action in February 2006, including a national alert system, the formation of medical teams and improved surveillance.

In Africa, Ghana, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria have all reported cases of H5N1 in poultry.

The World Health Organisation has warned that while humans have so far only caught the H5N1 strain of bird flu through contact with infected birds or their droppings, it could claim millions of lives if it mutates into a form that can be spread among humans.

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