From Yusufu Aminu Idegu
Poultry farmers in Plateau State have expressed concern over escalation of the dreaded Avian Influenza, popularly known as bird flu.
The outbreak of the disease was first noticed few days before Christmas and has continued to spread, leaving in its trail, high mortality.
The public relation officer of the Poultry Farmers Association in Plateau State, Nanji Gambo-oke, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the disease had spread to three local governments in the state and ravaged six farms.
He said, “The farmers noticed an unusual health condition on their farms shortly before Christmas. It was strange to us because it did not come with symptoms associated with bird flu.
“But in the new year, it became clearer to us that we are dealing with bird flu; the sample taken to the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) in Vom, Jos, confirmed it.
“We started having the challenge from the last week of December and into the new year; and the case is escalating.
“However, the spread is localised to the Plateau north senatorial zone, particularly in Jos East, Jos South and Barkin Ladi local governments. The fear is that the disease could spread to other local government areas.
“However, the association is yet to ascertain the number of birds lost so far because we are still dealing with the situation. But I can tell you that the mortality is in thousands and the spread has not abated.”
He continued, “As an association, we have begun to sensitise our members not to panic but take the bio-security measures seriously in order to secure their farms. We have also told them to report any case to their veterinary officer immediately they suspect anything.”
It was learnt that the outbreak has sent a wave of panic across farmers in the state and they are resorting to selling off their birds to avoid total loss.