No case of bird flu this year — Agric Ministry

BIRDSGhana has not recorded any new case of Avian Influenza (bird flu) since December 15, 2015, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) has revealed.

It attributed that to the effective response and control interventions which were instituted before and during an outbreak last year.

The ministry has, therefore, assured the public that there is no risk in eating locally produced poultry and poultry products in the country.

At a stakeholders’ meeting in Accra yesterday, a Deputy Minister of MoFA in charge of livestock, Dr Hanna Louisa Bisiw, however, advised consumers to ensure that poultry products were well-cooked before consumption.

The first outbreak occurred in the country in 2007 while the latest incident was in May last year. Dr Bissiw, however, indicated that Ghana had never recorded any human cases of the disease.

The meeting discussed how to strengthen the national surveillance and response system and the mapping out of strategies to stop the further spread of the disease, particularly in the Greater Accra Region.

The minister said the national response system would be put on red alert until the country was declared free of the Avian Influenza disease.

Dr Bissiw said a shared responsibility in the control and containment of the disease was, therefore, very crucial.

As part of the measures to contain and control the disease in the country, Parliament approved an amount of GH¢11,035,610.00 million from the Contingency Fund to support the Ministry of Agriculture’s emergency plan to combat the outbreak of the disease.

The amount is expected to be used to purchase reagents for detection of the disease and sample tests at the World Health Animal Organisation and FAO laboratories.

Part of it will also be used to undertake activities such as the movement of surveillance teams to poultry farms and wild bird sanctuaries nationwide to assess possible occurrence of the disease.

An amount of GH¢1,067,355 representing 90 per cent of the total market value for the live birds that were destroyed in the wake of the outbreak of the disease had been disbursed to 25 affected farmers as compensation.

Dr Bisiw said the ministry had also finished processes to pay compensation to nine other victims.
“Payment of compensation will encourage the farmers to report outbreaks on time to ensure timely control measures are put in place,” she explained.

Control measures
So far, a total of 75,976 birds have been culled while 26,434 birds died naturally of the disease.Infected feed, eggs and other poultry farm equipment were also destroyed.

Other measures included the training of veterinary officers and the ban on the importation of poultry and poultry products from affected countries.

The acting Director of the Veterinary Services Directorate, Dr Augustus Ayitey, said even though the spread had been brought under control stakeholders did not have to relent on their efforts until the disease was totally eradicated.

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