Delta State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources took proactive steps to avert the spread of the Avian Influenza Disease in the state as it destroyed 750 birds, including chickens and turkeys which were confirmed to be positive carriers of the disease.
However, results for 3,100 birds are still being expected from the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom, Jos, Plateau State.
The de-population exercise, which was carried out on two poultry farms in Agbor, Ika South and Ika North East Local Government Areas of the state, was performed by a team of experts from the Veterinary Services Department of the ministry, led by the State Avian Influenza desk officer, Dr. Orioko Edmund.
Owners of the affected farms lamented their losses as veterinary experts gathered their livestock into the pit, dug for the stamping-out purpose, before disinfecting the farm against further outbreak.
Speaking to our correspondent in Asaba, the Chief Veterinary Officer and Director of Veterinary Services in the ministry Dr. Charles Osielukwe Diai, said that following the confirmation of the disease by NVRI, the measure was necessary to avert its possible spread to other farms in the state, as well as to prevent the infected birds from getting into the market.
Diai averred that the progressive efforts of the ministry to check the spread of the virus had been productive and was yielding desired results, as it has effectively managed six cases this year, while samples from two poultry farms had been sent to the NVRI to ascertain the nature of their ailments.
While commiserating with the affected farmers, he advised them to remain calm and accept the action of the ministry in good faith, assuring that all efforts were in top gear to ensure that the federal government pay them compensation in due time.
The veterinary director advised all poultry farmers as well as private veterinary practitioners to report any case of suspected Avian Influenza to the ministry, adding that any act to the contrary “amounts to predisposing the consuming public and other livestock in the state to the disease.”
He said: “The loss of a single human is much more than the loss of thousands of birds, and if you, as a farmer, cherish your family, then, you should be able to endure what happened because it is not a total loss since the government will compensate you.
“It is painful, no doubt, but you have to take solace in the fact that you will be paid and, at the same time, in the fact that you have saved that community from the tragedy of having Influenza in the human population because all we are doing is in the interest of public health.”
According to him, “Had the situation been such where human beings were affected, we will not be talking about birds anymore, and this is what are have averted over the years and will continue to avert it. That is why, all over the world, thousands of birds are being destroyed to save the human population.”
He disclosed that the veterinary department was in collaboration with all stakeholders in the sector to ensure that the state was free of the disease.