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16.05.2007 General News

64 poultry farms screened for bird flu

By myjoyonline

The Avian Influenza Surveillance Team has since the outbreak of the bird flu in the country, screened a total of 64 small, medium and large-scale poultry enterprises in the Tema municipality for the presence of the virus.

The screening has not brought out any new case of the disease.

"The government has increased surveillance and testing of suspicious birds and is working to ensure potential cases are found," the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr David Owusu-Amoah, said in Accra on Tuesday.

He said the move was to ensure that the entire Tema municipality and other areas were safe from the spread of the H5N1 strain, adding that the screening followed the detection of the virus on three farms in the Tema municipality.

Last week, large quantities of poultry products were destroyed following the detection of the third case of bird flu at Adjei Kojo, near Ashaiman in the Tema municipality, where the second case was found.

About 12,000 birds, 323 crates of eggs and 375 kilogrammes of feed were destroyed.

The MoFA, on May 2, 2007, announced the discovery of the first case of the bird flu in the country on a farm near Tema. That led to the destruction of all birds on the farm, numbering 1,678, as well as those in adjoining houses. Also, all the carcasses were incinerated and the remains buried.

The ministry subsequently declared the Tema municipality an Avian influenza infested area, adding that there should be no movement of live birds within and out of the municipality until further notice.

It said all live bird markets were immediately closed, while investigations continued for the detection of any further virus in other areas.

According to Mr Owusu-Amoah, more than 14,000 birds on the three farms where the virus was detected had been destroyed, burnt and buried, with the appropriate disinfection of all premises and equipment on the farms.

He said all unusual death of poultry, not only in the Tema area but throughout the country, should be reported immediately to the Veterinary Services or the nearest agriculture office for the necessary action to be taken.

He said poultry farmers and people who reared birds at home should keep their birds in fenced or enclosed areas which should be kept clean regularly.

Mr Owusu-Amoah indicated that movement in and out of farms should be kept to a minimum and that "after touching birds, one's hands should be thoroughly washed with soap".

"Report any suspicious, sick or dead birds to the local veterinary or agriculture officer or call 021776021/775777," he urged.
Credit: Daily Graphic

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