Health

Reported avian influenza case, Lagos on a red alert

Following the reported outbreak of the avian influenza (bird flu) in Lagos and Kano state last week, all chicken markets in Lagos and environs has been placed on red alert even as the veterinary institutions have all stepped up surveillance to contain the flu.

According to the World Health Organization, Nigeria was the first African country to report H5N1 in poultry in 2006.

While making this known in a telephone interview to the newsmen, Chairman, Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, NVMA, Lagos State chapter, Dr Alao Mobolaji, however allayed growing fears over the incidence, saying it was safe to consume chicken and other poultry as long as it was properly handled and well cooked.

He said: "I can assure you that we have been able to contain it since it was reported. The farm that this broke out from has been quarantined and they have destroyed the chickens in that particular farm.

"Basically, all the veterinary institutions within the state have stepped up to contain the disease and when I say stepped up, I mean proper security has been set up in all chicken markets in the state as much as possible.

"Our members have been put on alert and the farmers place on advisory alert as well to prevent the spread of the disease so that it does not escalate."

Noting that last week's incidence in the two states was not unusual, he explained that the rate at which the disease had been emerging and re-emerging is something to talk about.

He noted: "The last time such case occurred was around 2006 and it took us a while to contain it. The alertness of Ebola has help us to quickly attend to this one too as much as possible.

"This is also expected in the state of globalization, urbanization which is on the rise. Increasing the proximity of animal and human being is on the rise and need to be taken serious because human and animal are sharing quarters. Stressing that chicken is safe, Mobolaji urged people not to panic, adding: "People should not panic; people should consume chicken like they consume it normally."

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