Fear grips mountain farmers as bird flu strikes again
The re-emergence of the bird flu virus, also known as bird flu, has caused a stir in Plateau State, according to the Vanguard report.
This left the poultry farmers to calculate their losses as the virus spread to the state’s poultry farms.
The poultry disease that has ravaged many poultry farms in the past has subsided as the state hasn’t had any outbreaks since 2019, but the virus resurgence is now causing panic among poultry farmers.
Arewa Voice counted five farms in the state affected by the outbreak, and owners claim they have lost thousands of birds in the process. Poultry farmers are grappling with the high costs of running their farms amid the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and say they are at risk from the presence of a highly virulent strain of the disease.
In order to reduce proliferation, farmers are now thoroughly aware of the need to strengthen biosecurity measures on their farms, even if they are asked to insure their farms.
At one farm in the Dong community, Jos North LGA, where more than 3,000 birds have been affected and the farm has been closed, farm owner Rachel Veryui asks for help getting her back to work.
Although at the time of writing this report there was no certainty as to whether her farm was insured, she said the loss caused her serious damage, saying: “I have lost over 3000 birds. The bird showed signs of the disease and we cultivated them for three days, but before the result appeared, they all died at once. My investment is over. I need help. To get back to work “ – Ocheny complained.
However, the state’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Spak Shasit, said the outbreak was believed to have originated from the southwestern state through egg traders. But he did not provide any specific figures for bird deaths, apparently so as not to create panic and create opportunities for massive claims for compensation from farmers.
She said: “Five farms have been affected so far, all in Jos North LGA. Four farms in Dong and one in the city. We are not publishing figures now, so as not to create panic.
“Once again, if we publish a figure that contradicts what the government will have to compensate, it will be a problem, but the figure is in the thousands because over 3,000 birds have been lost on one farm. The epidemic is still present, although we are raising awareness among farmers on what to do to reduce spread and loss.
“Basic steps are standard protocol, because if we suspect and confirm that a farm is infected with avian influenza, we close the farm to restrict movement: nothing enters and nothing leaves the farm. After the sealing, we destroy ourselves by killing the birds and burying them. We disinfect the farm and everything on it, then disinfect the entire farm and its surroundings, and close the farm for a while so that the virus does not spread.
“In 2016, the virus strain was H5N1, which is highly pathogenic. In 2019, the outbreak of the H5NA virus was mild, but we are currently fighting against H5N1, which is very dangerous and has affected five farms in a short time, ”the officer said.
Talking about measures to limit its distribution, he added: “We’ve heard of his existence in Kano; we immediately contacted the Nigeria Poultry Association to ask its members to be careful. We always advise farmers to insure their farms in case of an outbreak. We advised poultry farmers to take strict biosecurity measures and register with the relevant authorities to protect themselves from losses. “