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Health News of Sunday, 31 July 2016


25,000 Birds destroyed since January following Bird flu

More than 25,000 birds have been destroyed from January to date, as a result of the Avian Influenza (Bird flu) on poultry farms.

So far, 13 farms in the country have been affected, out of which seven were recorded in the Greater Accra Region.

In 2015, a total of 76,326 birds were destroyed as a result of the outbreak of the epidemic nationwide.

This were made known by the Deputy Director and Head of the Epidemiology Unit of the Veterinary Services Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Dr Paul Palkuu, during a visit to Delawin Farms at Kpone near Accra.

The visit was meant to expose journalists to the effect the disease had had on farmers since its outbreak last year, and the control measures put in place to curtail it.

Last year, more than 30,000 birds were destroyed at the Delawin Farms following the outbreak.

Dr Palkuu was accompanied by representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) and the MoFA.

Bird flu

Bird flu is a deadly strain of a virus that attacks poultry and kills them after a short period. The deadly H5N1 bird flu can kill humans and has killed people worldwide, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, since 2003.

Ghana recorded its first bird flu on May 2, 2007. In that year, 13,371 poultry, made up of fowls, ducks, turkey and geese, had died, while 27,356 birds were destroyed as part of control measures.

By September that year, MoFA, in consultation with the Ghana Poultry Development Board, had disbursed over GH¢150,000 as compensation to farmers who had their birds destroyed as a result of the disease.

Control measures

Dr Palkuu said the nation faced a risk if it failed to put in the appropriate mechanisms to control the disease.

Among other measures, he said there was the need to tighten security at the borders, as far as the importation of birds was concerned.

Dr Palkuu advised farmers not to rear different animal species on the same farm, as that could breed a lot of diseases.

Bio-security measures

The Managing Director of the Delawin Farms, Mr Kwame Awuku-Adu, said last year’s outbreak had an adverse effect on his business.

In view of that, he said the management of the farm would not take chances at all, adding that “any individual who enters the farm has to be taken through thorough disinfection.”

Mr Awuku-Adu expressed appreciation for the visit and asked for more collaboration from the government.

The Proprietor of Agrivision Farms, Mr Lawrence Agorsor, who was present during the visit, also called on the government to assist in the disinfection of the birds before an outbreak.