Accra, April 11, GNA - Simple hygienic precautions and cooking poultry products well would prevent people from contracting the avian bird flu, Prof Daniel Adene, a Veterinary Medicine Specialist said on Tuesday.
"Carry on please with your chicken and eggs; they are excellent for taste, body and health. Only remember simple hygienic precautions and cook well, 'the African way', Prof Adene said, at a seminar on bird flu in Accra.
The seminar, on the theme: "The Bird Flu Disease - Questions and Answers and the Way Forward", and accompanied by a "chicken and egg fair", was organised jointly by the Ghana Branch of the World Poultry Science Association and the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).
It was to solicit inputs and views to devise an appropriate strategy to ward off the disease, considered an epidemic, of which reports had been made of its occurrence in neighbouring Burkina Faso.
The disease, considered a major public health hazard, generally involves fever, upper respiratory effects as cold, cough, sneezing, malaise and often death.
Prof Adene said the H5N1 virus was the virus in the current bird flu epidemic, fraught with propensity to transform into strange forms It is severe, more extensive, and extends to the trachea, lungs, intestines and liver, spreading to animals and humans.
There had been 80 human fatalities when the avian flu re-emerged in Asia in October 2005 and began spreading to other parts of the world.
The disease has constituted a grave economic problem to the poultry industry and food production and had become a global scare because of difficulties in its management and control due to its trans-boundary nature.
Prof Adene, who is also Visiting Professor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, suggested two control options: stamping out and vaccination, but noted that neither of the two options individually or fully met flu control contingencies in a land-locked country.
As the first person to diagnose the first case of avian flu in Nigeria recently, Prof Adene called on poultry keepers to report any sick or wld birds to the nearest vet office, adding that sick or dead birds should not be moved out of location before veterinary intervention. Strict hygienic observation and avoidance of minimal contact with sick bird, as well as not raising pigs and birds together would prevent the spread of bird flu, Prof Adene said.