The first case of avian influenza has been recorded in Ebonyi State, the state commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Uchenna Orji, said.
Orji confirmed the virus’s detection on Sunday while addressing journalists who visited the affected poultry farm at Ugwuachara area of Abakaliki.
According to him, the attention of his ministry was drawn to the development, following massive death of birds at the farm.
“Officials of the state veterinary services took the sample of a bird’s carcass to a research institute in Jos, where it was confirmed that the birds died from the H5NI strains of the Avian Influenza.
“I have directed the veterinary department of the ministry to isolate the farm and take inventory of all poultry and ancillary farms in the state.
“We will also ensure sustained enlightenment on the influenza to educate the public on precautionary measures to take,” he said.
Reacting, the Director of Veterinary Services and Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ibiam Okoro, said that efforts had been intensified to contain the possible spread of the virus.
“The strain detected in the farm was only transmissible from animal to animal. Poultry farmers and the people are warned against the sale or consumption of sick or dead chicken,” he said.
The Avian Influenza Control Project Desk Officer in the state, Dr Rita Okoro, said that the alarm raised by the affected farm owner, helped in checking the spread of the virus to other farms in the state.
One of the Supervisors of the farm, Miss Victoria Chukwu, told newsmen that the sudden–massive death of the birds aroused suspicion as they failed to respond to all treatment given to them.
“Fellow poultry farmers should exercise caution while the people should ensure that chicken and other poultry products are properly cooked before consumption,” she advised.