21.06.2007 Health

Bird Flu Now Hits Aflao

21.06.2007 LISTEN
By Daily Graphic

The third outbreak of bird flu in the country has been reported on a poultry farm in Aflao in the Volta Region.

The first and second outbreaks were reported in Tema and Sunyani last month.

Food and Agriculture Minister, Mr Ernest Debrah, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that the ministry was monitoring the situation and pledged its preparedness to put in place measures to contain the outbreak and avoid further spread of the disease.

He urged the public to report any unusual death of birds to the nearest agriculture office.

Consequently, the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry in the Volta Region, moved in last Tuesday to destroy 1,100 birds on the farm.

The Volta Regional Veterinary Officer, Dr Bennie Aniwa, who confirmed the outbreak, said the poultry farmer who found sick birds on his farm sent a sample to Accra for a lab test, which eventually proved positive for avian influenza.

He said unconfirmed reports indicated that there had been an outbreak of the disease in a neighbouring country.

Dr Aniwa, therefore, reminded officials of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) to check the inflow of poultry and its products into the country.

To forestall further spread of the disease, he said a collective strategy had been adopted with the Ketu District Assembly and the District Office of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to ban the movement of poultry and its products in and out of the district.

Dr Aniwa added that all live bird markets had been closed in the Ketu District.

He said staff of the ministry, the National Disaster Management Organisation and environmental health workers had formed a task force to destroy all local birds around the infested farm.

Story by Tim Dzamboe

& Timothy Gobah

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