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20.10.2005 General News

Bird Flu Good For Ghana?

By Chronicle
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Bird Flu would boost local poultry – Ken Quartey The chairman of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers, Mr. Kenneth Quartey, has said that the temporal ban on imported poultry products into the country due to the Bird Flu virus that has engulfed some European and Asian countries, will enable all shut down companies to start operations, to cater for 'the Christmas demand'. In an interview with the Business Chronicle on Tuesday, the chairman said many of the old poultry farms that were shut down because of the introduction of the importation of poultry products were mapping out strategies to come back.

“It is doubtful that professional commercial operation takes into consideration the kind of capital and time frame that is required to start up this operations,” he said.

Though the Bird Flu virus has not reached the African continent, most countries, including Ghana, are putting up measures to prevent it.

Ghana has banned the importation of poultry products from countries that have been infected.

The professional commercial operation of European Union foreign ministers on Tuesday, declared the spread of bird flu from Asia to Europe resulting in a global threat, as the Swiss manufacturer of the only available anti-flu drug announced it was building a new U.S. plant to increase production amid fears of a major flu outbreak.

Also on Tuesday, an Indian drug company said it was seeking a license from the pharmaceutical giant Roche to produce a generic version of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu to make it more widely available.

The European ministers urged for an international cooperation to contain the virus and called on the EU Executive Commission to accelerate steps to draft stronger rules against bird flu, which in recent days, has been discovered in Greece, Romania and Turkey, leading to bans on poultry from those countries.

In the latest case, Romanian announced on Tuesday that a swan with bird flu antibodies was discovered near the Ukrainian border.

It was not immediately clear, however, if the swan was infected with the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain that has swept poultry populations in large swans in Asia since 2003, jumping to humans and killing 60 people and resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of birds.

The flu's spread westward by migrating wild fowl has intensified fears that the virus may mutate into one that can be easily be transmitted among humans; a development experts fear could provoke a global epidemic that puts millions of lives at risk.

In India, pharmaceutical firm Cipla Ltd., announced it was seeking a license from Roche to manufacture a generic version of Tamiflu.

Roche has been under growing pressure from governments and U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to license generic versions of Tamiflu, the only available drug that is effective in treating people infected with bird flu. The drug is already in limited supply.