Bird Flu: Osun, Experts On Sensitisation Drive

download45Osun State Government has embarked on an awareness programme to contain the spread of Avian Influenza (AI) otherwise referred to as bird flu.

The disease caused by viruses related to captive birds, chickens, turkeys guinea fowls among others hit parts of the country particularly Kano, Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Ogun and Jigawa weeks ago.

The sensitization programme, which began immediately after the report of the epidemic, intensified at the weekend began with a seminar organized for poultry farmers, managers, marketers, attendants, among others with a view to taking proac­tive and preventive measures against the outbreak of the disease in the state.

While enumerating the rationale behind the seminar which drew participants from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Department of Animal Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Vet­erinary experts among others, the manag­ing director of Tuns Farms Ltd, Olalekan Badmus, said it was also intended to equip the public with the basic tips on the pre­vention and control of the disease.

He, however, allayed fears that the epidemic had not occurred in Osun State, adding that only 15 cases traced to small farms in the affected states were recorded so far.

Badmus disclosed that preventive mea­sures had since been taken by government and experts by destroying the affected birds in the affected farms.

He disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had since assured the public that the situa­tion was under control and there was no cause for alarm. He added that flyers and handbills that have graphic representations of the disease, its signs and symptoms, pre­vention and control were being distributed in the state, including the rural areas.

Governor Rauf Aregebesola who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, disclosed that his

government was making concerted efforts to ensure that no single case of Avian InfluAdegboyega Oyetola, disclosed that his enza was recorded in the state: ­

“You could recollect that when the disease became epidemic in Nigeria in 2006, there was no single case of it in our state. In our swift reaction to the recent alerts in some states of the federation, we have approved the purchase of chemicals to fumigate all farms in the state.

“I have also directed the Veterinary Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to deploy all its officers to man all the control posts in and out of the state.’’

The governor solicited the support of people and Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) in the fight against the disease by promptly reporting strange birds’ behav­iours and their high mortality rate to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security for prompt action.

Livestock director in the ministry, Dr Ajayi, disclosed that the state government had since directed that research institutes and tertiary institutions would be involved in the sensitization programmes to make it more qualitative and result-oriented.

State chairman of PAN, Chief Olukiran Oluyemi, urged poultry farmers to adhere strictly to bio-security measure to prevent bird flu from attacking their farms.