By Peter Okutu
Abakaliki—Ebonyi State’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr. Orji Uchenna, has confirmed the detection of the first case of Avian Influenza (bird flu) infection in the state.
Disclosing this in Abakaliki, Uchenna said the virus was detected in a poultry farm at Ugwuachara area of the state capital, adding that the attention of his ministry was drawn to the development following death of birds.
He stated that officials of the state veterinary services took a sample to a research institute in Jos, where it was confirmed that the birds died from the H5NI strains of the Avian Influenza.
Mr. Uchenna directed the veterinary department of the ministry to isolate the farm and take inventory of all poultry and ancillary farms in the state, while sustaining enlightenment on the influenza.
The Director of Veterinary Service and Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ibiam Okoro, who led the Commissioner to the farm, said the department had already mounted surveillance to contain the possible spread of the virus.
Okoro, who emphasized that the strain detected in the farm was only transmissible from animal to animal, warned poultry farmers and the people of the state against the sale or consumption of sick or dead chicken.
The Avian Influenza Control Project Desk Officer in the state, Dr. Rita Okoro, said the alarm by the owner of the farm helped in checking the spread of the virus to other farms.
One of the Supervisors of the farm, Miss Victoria Chukwu, told Vanguard that the sudden massive death of birds in the farm aroused suspicion as they failed to respond to treatment.